E-Commerce Logistics and Supply Chains: Journey to the Future
The transition of commerce to an electronic format is a well-established and economically sound process which is in its prime. Shopping and paying online has already become an integral part of modern life. Conversion of e-commerce platforms is more than 7% versus just 3% in the retail sector. But how has the transformation of e-commerce affected logistics?
The transportation of products remains a physical process that cannot be realized through the Internet. However, electronic administration of logistics processes is available now, and advanced technologies help optimize the product movement along the supply chain. How does this all happen and what are the current trends – let’s understand.
Why Classic Logistics Has Become Obsolete
The answer is simple: needs are growing.
If we immediately exclude the possibility that a business delivers goods on its own without involving third parties, then, in any case, there is some company in the chain between the brand and the consumer. With its help, goods get into the hands of buyers from different cities and countries.
But if earlier, in most cases, it was a matter of delivering the product to stores and other retail structures, now everything is much more sophisticated. Buyers may request delivery to their nearest post office, special pick-up point, or even directly to their home. This required a qualitative change in storage conditions and technologies used.
Reasons for the Rapid Development of Logistics
In order to take their place under the sun in a trading niche, brands choose the most effective methods. This is what is most appreciated by any buyer – a wide range of products and short delivery time: who would want to wait for their goods for several months? The same goes for digital commerce. Therefore, you should not be fooled, for example, a case of Photza digital photo retouching service, when they reduced the delivery time from 3 days to 2 and began to send ready-made photos not only through your personal account on the website, but also duplicated by email link to Dropbox, increased conversion by 17.3%.
A good example of successful adapting to new realities is Amazon. By activating 50 picking warehouses throughout the United States, this giant got the opportunity to promise customers next-day delivery. With the help of a special code (SKU), each item was designated, then it arrived at the distribution center, and was ready to be further piece-picked for individual orders.
The closer the inventory to the buyer, the faster the delivery. Other retailers and businesses quickly realized this and began to deploy new capacities, using both internal departments and shared resources managed by third-party partners.
New Trends and Their Impact on Logistics
Implementation of Digitalization
This is a crucial thing that makes sense to mention. Advanced technologies, the ability to create and use customized software adapted for each business and its logistic model, electronic databases and much more allowed many brands to reach a new level.
Digitalization not only accelerates work, but it also provides greater stability and sustainability in the implementation of supply chains. With its help, brands can check the availability of products in any storehouse at any time, request information on the latest deliveries as well as the status of different orders, manage inventory and pre-compile optimal routes.
The Same-Day Delivery
The question of how to speed up the process of getting the product into the hands of the buyer continues to occupy the minds of brands. The most relevant category of goods for delivery on the same day is, of course, food. One can also include consumables here. Short-lived commodities do not stand the test of time, therefore, special conditions must be provided for them. And this is not a whim of the client or the quirk of the manufacturer, but an urgent need.
Moreover, there is a certain relationship between service and money, which people consider appropriate to pay for it. This balance should be carefully calculated and taken into account. It is also interesting that more than 60% of clients are willing to pay more in order to receive the goods on the same day or at least the next day. If the brand has the opportunity to fulfill this desire, then we can say that it is already one step ahead of its other less savvy competitors.
To reduce the cost of delivery and ensure its optimization, platforms such as Uber implement market models that analyze and compare supply and demand. For example, they select available couriers and orders received in real time and, by appointing a courier to deliver a product, seek to minimize the average travel time. The whole system is fully automated: large amounts of money were invested to ensure its correct functioning. Notably, they fully paid off, because as a result, the organization has received a platform that provides stable and trouble-free operation.
The scheme of working with local couriers is gaining momentum, and in the near future, many large retailers are expected to switch to it. This is convenient and, as indicated above, requires the greatest cost only at the initial stage of implementation. With the correct formulation of the problem and the determination of the goals pursued, success will not be long in coming: it remains only to maintain the system and periodically update it. No one wants to be left overboard as an outdated option.
Delivery of goods by robots is also not as far away as it might seem. Starship Technologies is already launching its standalone food delivery robots in Tempe. Self-guided robotic vehicles can carry orders weighing up to 40 pounds over a distance of 3 miles. Autonomous navigation is provided by a 360-degree camera, which makes a robot an absolutely independent counterpart to couriers, reducing labor costs by more than 70%. Bots work best in urban centers.
There is no information about possible obstacles to their movement yet. In addition, such machines encounter far fewer legal barriers than their unlucky colleagues – drones.
The Power of Social Media
While marketing and link building strategies allow the brand to improve its online visibility, social networks dominate in matters of instant communication with customers. Clarification of address details, obtaining prompt feedback and providing the information requested by customers optimize logistics processes from a coordinating point of view.
SaaS Options to Streamline Supply Chains
Manual supply chain management with modern production volumes nowadays seems almost impossible; to say the least, then certainly both an outdated and inefficient method. Therefore, many businesses resort to various software-as-a-service supply management options.
This process became especially popular after the entry of cloud computing into the game. It made available timely informational and structural updates and created easy ways to manage infrastructure costs.
Advanced Product Tracking Scheme
The use of GPS has become another milestone in the history of an e-commercial boom. With its help, it became possible to track the location of the goods at any stage of their journey, whether it be moving to a regional storehouse or last-mile delivery. Moreover, tracking is a useful option for customers: they can clearly imagine and assume how much they have left to wait for their goods.
In the event of an unforeseen situation, brands can immediately detect problems and take all necessary measures to restore the procedure for transporting products to the buyer.
In the End
Modern problems require modern solutions. Therefore, in parallel with the new e-commerce opportunities, up-to-date options appear that handle the transportation of small and large goods equally well. Digitalization has given a significant impetus to the growth of new capabilities. Timely delivery at a price that satisfies the customer is what businesses strive for by updating their logistics models.
Marie Barnes is a Marketing Communication Manager at LinksManagement, where you can buy real backlinks, and is a writer for gearyoda. She is an enthusiastic blogger interested in writing about technology, social media, work, travel, lifestyle, and current affairs.
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