The end of the high street? The role of logistics in E-commerce

The evolution of E-Commerce

Long gone are the days of hurrying to the shops before closing time to grab those last-minute items. With the growth of e-commerce, it is now possible to get gifts, urgent replacement appliances and forgotten birthday cards delivered straight to your door in a matter of hours. Although many of us take for granted this service, there are complex logistics processes at play that make these deliveries possible. Around 50 years ago, companies relied on direct truck or ship deliveries in order to receive their stock; this was then eventually taken over by localised distribution centres, spreading out logistics operations across wider regions. Fast forward to 2018 and many businesses have gone online, streamlining the shipping process to transport items from the warehouse to customer as quickly as possible.

Why E-commerce is overtaking the high street

The rise of the online store has meant that shoppers now have access to thousands of products at the click of a button. It is therefore no surprise that more and more consumers are resorting to shopping online, rather than venturing on foot down their local high street. With huge fleets of trucks, ships and delivery vans, logistics companies provide the option of next day delivery, evening delivery and more! Not only this, item costs are significantly reduced for consumers; without the need for premises and the resulting rent fees involved in opening a shop, products purchased online are often cheaper than those that can be found in shops. As an online retailer, the business is able to rely on a warehouse to both store and ship their goods, and the logistics processes involved in this are therefore cheaper.

How logistics can improve the E-commerce experience

With more and more consumers resorting to online shopping, there is greater competition between businesses to offer the quickest, cheapest and most convenient delivery options. The logistics providers involved in E-commerce practices have therefore made a shift towards nominated day delivery and guaranteed next day arrival of goods. In addition, increasingly, logistics companies are offering the option to drop parcels off at a convenient access point; this not only reduces logistics costs, but reduces the distance travelled by these transport providers. In a culture that values instant gratification, shipping companies are under pressure to be able to offer the delivery of multiple purchases in one shipment and are expected to be able to deliver this service (albeit at an increased cost to the consumer).

The future of logistics in E-commerce

Looking forward, it is clear that the reach of E-commerce is only set to get wider. With a continued focus on personalised shipping options, along with flexible pick-up and returns options, it is evident that the role of logistics processes will remain central to the continued success of the online shopping market.

Written by Gabriella Vianello – Executive Assistant at Alchemy Global Talent Solutions