To keep up with consumer demands for fast and free shipping, as well as a personalized experience with premium services ranging from Sunday delivery to white glove service, retailers are shipping from an endless aisle made up of fulfillment centers, stores, 3PL warehouses, and suppliers to achieve faster delivery at reduced shipping costs. And increasingly they are using alternative delivery services, including local carriers, to do it.
This has led to a jigsaw puzzle of sorts as shippers access this expanding global network of local carrier services in a way that will enable retailers, eCommerce merchants, and 3PLs to meet rising consumer expectations.
While many think of local delivery synonymously with same-day—and that is a growing market, with as many as 65 percent of retailers expected to offer the service this year—the increase of omnichannel delivery is shifting more delivery from long-distance to local.
As pointed out in our most recent eBook “Omnichannel Retailers Delivering from the Endless Aisle,” that is a trend that isn’t going away: “The lines between transportation modes are blurring and will continue to do so as eCommerce continues to transform logistics. All modes want a piece of the explosive eCommerce market now only in its nascent stage.”
While the increase is good news for the more than 500,000 companies in the courier and delivery services industry worldwide and those traditional carriers jumping into the mix, it creates a logistics problem for retail and eCommerce pure-play companies as they face an evolving and decentralized carrier network not only domestically, but across borders as well. Some of these challenges include data normalization, network seamlessness, and cross-border regulatory compliance.
It will take an evolution in operations and transportation management software to handle this shift in the way retailers are shipping their products from what has become an endless aisle that is omnichannel shipping.