The COVID-19 outbreak accelerated various trends in e-commerce logistics. Some things have drastically changed when it comes to shipments, consumer behavior, shipping fees and cross-border e-commerce. EcommerceNews Europe presents some logistical developments to keep an eye on. The world of logistics is always moving. However, with the COVID-19 outbreak and the ongoing measures that resulted from this, things really accelerated. EcommerceNews asked Jeroen Dekker, Managing Partner at fulfillment company Active Ants about the latest developments in logistics.
Due to COVID-19, more and more companies are moving their business online. These are companies that were offline oriented and are now seizing their opportunities online. On the other hand, there are newcomers who are jumping on the opportunities offered by the e-commerce sector. “Especially with the possibilities offered by the various e-commerce software platforms, it’s just a small step to start selling online,” Dekker explains.
As a logical consequence of the possibilities offered by marketplaces, Dekker sees that an increasing number of shipments are sent internationally. Of course, cross-border e-commerce is not new. However, what is new is that carriers are making more and more demands on the shipment. “Transporters prefer small, light packages. Fees are charged for anything larger or heavier than desired.”
A development that is at odds with the rise of dropshipping suppliers is the “support your locals” initiatives. In addition to consumers wanting to prevent local entrepreneurs having to close their doors for good, sustainability also plays a role in this. A large part of consumers is increasingly critical about the distances that products have to travel before they arrive at their homes. Furthermore, consumers and companies do not only look critically at production, but also at logistics. Local, sustainable ways of transportation are gaining more and more ground.
A good and safe way to receive products was shopping online during the various lockdowns. As a result, the number of parcels is higher than ever. Ultimately, this puts extra pressure on the logistics companies. Moreover, they have to deal with destinations that are difficult or even impossible to reach. At the same time, many consumers still want their orders delivered as soon as possible.
The logistical challenges also work the other way. Producing products somewhere far away from their final destination are also regularly subject to delays. Good stock control has always been important, but now it is a must. “In this day and age, anyone who can’t scale up quickly is no longer participating," says Dekker.
However, being able to scale up quickly is not only an important matter for online retailers, fulfillment companies are also busier than ever. By deploying robots – and largely automating order processing – they can easily increase their capacity. In addition, it makes the processes more efficient, less prone to errors and cheaper.
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