E-commerce has changed the way we buy, sell and send goods. Indeed, this is the age of the e-commerce customer who knows and expects more. E-commerce has drove more convenience, more service, more choice, and faster delivery, to give online businesses a competitive edge. This includes e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Alibaba and eBay. Some are becoming more directly involved in logistics, such as Amazon who is building its own capacity to do more of what parcel carriers do.
Who is an e-commerce customer?In today’s global world the definition includes almost every business and consumers. E-commerce is a mainstream activity with massive growth potential in Australia. If you’re in logistics, this is high time to realise the importance of E-commerce and ditch the old business model. Customer expectations have risen and you too must rise to adapt to the changes. Let’s take a look at the evolution of logistics.
This evolution has passed through various general phases and very broadly in the timeline from a distribution property perspective. In the 1970s, most retail stores were replenished by direct deliveries from suppliers or wholesalers.In the 1980s, retailers started to centralize their store deliveries through new distribution centers which they controlled.In the 1990s, global sourcing (for non-food products) took off, with many retailers developing import centers to receive and process mostly containerized imports.From around 2000, e-commerce began to rapidly expand with internet leading the way in establishing e-fulfillment distribution networks.
In developed economies the growth of online retail has been stronger in sectors such as fashion, electrical and ICT goods, as opposed to food.Previously, where purchased items are typically distributed via a postal, parcel or freight network, e-commerce logistics models have led a wave of new demand for many types of logistics functions.These types of e-commerce logistics systems ensure the following benefits to shippers, customers, and 3PL service providers:
◼ Improved communication
◼Transparency into the supply chain
◼Improved customer satisfaction
◼Improvement in efficiency
Since ecommerce was born, everything including the supply chains has changed. Convenience and low prices were the driving forces for ecommerce in the early days. But today the challenge has shifted. Now Ecommerce requires much care from from receiving bulk orders to picking SKUs as individual products. Therefore, ecommerce retailers have to find a way to standardize and synchronize business processes to have real-time access and insight to inventory movement. However, technology has helped them fulfilling their operations thanks to automated software and real-time fulfillment data. The inefficiencies have reduced and helped identify redundant processes.
When it comes to the shipping, the evolution of multiple shipping options allow customers to have more control over the delivery process than ever. It’s no longer about being the fastest rat Instead but about being able to deliver an order at a time frame and price point that customers want.
From supply chains to delivery process, E-commerce has changed the industry of logistics like no other thing has.