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The e-commerce B2B market is expected to grow to almost $7 trillion by 2020 with retail e-commerce sales likely to reach almost $500 billion by 2021. With such impressive figures, many companies are set to ride the e-commerce wave.
Companies are using technology to help them satisfy the ever-growing demand for faster and cost-effective delivery. However, they are still finding it difficult to tackle first and last-mile deliveries.
Customers want instant gratification, and organizations are striving to make the delivery process as timely and seamless as possible. In this article, we will analyze eight trends that are making waves in the e-commerce sector.
The Current State of E-commerce Delivery
Key factors that make for a successful e-commerce business include customer-centric service and end-to-end delivery. Fast delivery is no longer considered an additional service, rather it has become the standard. Today, customers demand fast, seamless and customized delivery.
In response, organizations are adopting new technologies such as delivery tracking, routing software, and mobility apps to help them streamline their logistics chain. They are using these technologies to help them develop a safe and transparent delivery process.
In some cities, delivery robots have become common. Such robots are helping companies tackle the difficult task of last-mile delivery in urban environments. The logistics landscape is quickly changing. Let’s have a look at what is trending for 2019.
8 Trends to Look Out For in 2019
1. Robots and Drones
Amazon drone delivery is no longer something out of a sci-fi movie. A few days ago the company released a new drone, which is expected to start delivering packages to customers within months. China’s largest retailer JD offers drone delivery in rural areas, and delivery robots are already a reality in several cities in the U.S.
Companies such as Starship Robots are using their specialized robots to deliver packages and food. Since the launch of the Starship Robot technology at the end of last year, more companies have released their own version of these robots.
Continental has joined forces with Anybotics and these two companies are using both automated delivery vans and smaller delivery robots. The vans transport the delivery robot to a certain area and the robot then delivers the package to its end destination. This gives more reach to small delivery bots.
2. Real-time Visibility
One of the requirements for a seamless delivery is improved package traceability. A successful first and last-mile delivery service needs an effective tracking process. Companies are using first mile tracking to get real-time visibility into the journey of their packages. Organizations can use delivery tracking solutions to help them optimize the first-mile of the delivery process, namely the journey from the company warehouse or production facility to the logistics company.
Most tracking solutions send timely alerts about the package whereabouts to both the company and the customers. Customers nowadays want their products delivered quickly and are pushing companies to process orders in hours if not in minutes. Companies can use first-mile solutions to seamlessly process orders and track their packages along the supply chain.
3. City Warehouse
Gone are the days where a week for a regional delivery was considered reasonable. When Amazon started delivering packages in two hours they disrupted the delivery industry and raised the bar for the entire sector. Amazons began to install urban warehouses in strategic locations, which proved to be a highly successful strategy.
Many retailers are trying to keep pace with this trend, and are installing smaller warehouses in strategic urban locations. Customers can also pick-up their packages from some of these warehouses.
4. Multi-channel Retail
Companies are increasingly aware of the importance of having an omnichannel retail strategy. Since 82% of smartphone users search online through their phones before deciding what to buy. Customers like to have a variety of shopping options, and organizations that are able to offer various options tend to retain more customers. E-commerce stores complement offline business and drive sales.
Some companies such as Amazon, are complementing online sales with physical stores. Others such as Singapore’s Honestbee are setting brick-and-mortar stores that manage payments via an application.
5. Same Day Delivery
Next day delivery has become a standard. Consumers are willing to pay extra to get faster delivery. Consequently, many companies are starting to offer same day delivery to keep up with customer demands.
In the race for faster deliveries, companies that provide a seamless service in the shortest time will have a competitive advantage.
6. Third-party Delivery
Small and medium companies are outsourcing their deliveries to third-party service providers. Companies such as UberEats are handling the delivery of food. This trend is expected to grow. Small and medium companies can use third-party delivery to avoid the costs involved with maintaining a delivery fleet. Third-party delivery services partner with small package delivery services to handle the last-mile logistics and get the goods to customers on time.
Crowdsourcing is one trend that is helping organizations successfully deliver their products over the last-mile. In crowdsourcing, anyone with a car or bicycle can earn extra money by registering as an independent deliverer. Companies such as UberRush, Postmates or Amazon Flex alert registered users of available jobs.
This ad hoc collecting and delivering is currently not as efficient as an experienced delivery fleet. Although it is still not widespread, this trend is gaining popularity in large urban environments as it helps with single package delivery.
8. Mobile-friendly technology
Online stores have used mobile-shopping apps for some time now. Most customers use their smartphones to browse and shop. However, having a mobile-friendly site is not the same as a mini desktop version of your website.
The user interface needs to be clear and easy to navigate, to give the consumer a great experience. Mobile-friendly websites have a competitive advantage since Google ranks them higher in their search results.
Today, consumers are still prepared to wait a couple of days to receive their order, however, those days will soon come to an end. As companies such as Amazon continue to up their service, customers are becoming used to fast service. Companies today will benefit from keeping up with the pack, and should continually strive to improve the speed and effectivity of their last-mile deliveries.
This is a guest contribution by
Gilad David Maayan. Gilad is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Imperva, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Ixia, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership. Today he heads Agile SEO, the leading marketing agency in the technology industry.