According to the US Census Bureau, the first quarter of 2017, saw over $107 billion in e-commerce sales, and e-commerce sales grew at four times the rate of retail sales in general. Online shopping grows every year, and so does the job of getting the goods to the consumer. What changes are taking place in the logistics of getting these sales shipped and delivered?
It is no surprise that Amazon would be on the cutting edge with their new Prime Air service. On December 7, 2016, in Cambridge UK, one of Amazon’s drones delivered a package thirteen minutes after the customer clicked on the purchase. Amazon is continuing with this new service in the United Kingdom where drone regulations are less strict than in the US.
Uber-Like Apps for Trucks
Trucks carry more than half of the shipped good in the US according to the United States Bureau of Transportation, but too often, they are carrying nothing. A load is delivered, and then an empty truck makes the return trip, when it could be carrying another load on the way. Freight brokers have played matchmaker between the trucks and the freight. But now applications similar to Uber are cutting out the middle man and using algorithms to find cargo that needs shipped and pairing it with trucks that need cargo.
Companies that deliver a package regularly have a logistical advantage because they know what they will need to deliver, to whom, and when. Inventory, staff, and shipping can all be planned for, with few surprises, thus reducing cost and chaos. Two examples of on-line subscriptions are Ipsy, which delivers a sampler of beauty products and the other is Try the World, which features food from a different country each month. The idea is as old as magazine subscriptions, but is thriving in the world of e-commerce.
Moving Distribution Centers
In the past warehouses were typically located in less populated, and less expensive areas. But because e-commerce sells and ships directly to the consumer, distribution centers are being set up near major cities where population is highest. This allows quick delivery and more satisfied customers, and allows companies to sell more perishable items, at least in their target cities.
Although drone delivery is probably not something your business can use, at least not just yet, some new trends, such as city-based inventory and repeat sales through subscription, may merit serious consideration as your business grows. Whatever logistics you use to get the package shipped and delivered, contact us to find the best package to impress your customer when it arrives. We have boxes, bags, paper, labels and more to make the most of your product and your brand.