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Logistics trends in e-commerce to watch in 2022

Due to the large increase in the number of online stores, logistics companies and consumers, the logistics e-commerce sector continues to grow every year. As in previous years, there will be several shifts within the sector in 2022. Four important trends are visible for e-commerce logistics that will determine the future of the sector and the companies within the sector. These four trends are: a further shift to e-commerce, speed, dark stores and ship-from-store, and sustainability.

Further shift to e-commerce

Global ecommerce is growing rapidly with no indication of slowing down. In 2017, global retail e-commerce sales amounted to $2.4 billion and are expected to double to approximately $4.9 billion this year. Due to the coronavirus crisis, the shift from offline to online has drastically accelerated. This is expected to continue into 2022. Consumers have become accustomed to the convenience of online shopping and are not likely to deviate from this convenience. This is positive for logistics companies serving the e-commerce sector, but for other companies it means that they have to adjust their strategy.

Fast, faster, fastest

The speed of delivering online orders is becoming an increasingly important factor in e-commerce logistics. Purchasing products online must be easier and, above all, faster. In recent years, the delivery time has been shortened time and again: from delivery within a few days, to next-day delivery, to 24-hour delivery. Retailers can no longer permit a long delivery time. Retail giants who are able to deliver their products faster and faster have introduced consumers to a better alternative and changed their expectations. In 2022, same-day delivery will become more common and instant delivery will be an added bonus. Same-day delivery combines the convenience of online shopping with the instant gratification that consumers are accustomed to when buying a product in a physical store, bringing the online shopping experience closer to the offline shopping experience.

Dark stores and ship-from-store

Due to the shift to e-commerce and the increasing demand from consumers, the demand for small-scale locations near and in cities is increasing. This concerns, for example, city hubs, sorting centres and pick-up points, but the use of dark stores in particular will be a game changer in 2022, as will ship-from-store.

The term ‘dark store’ refers to a miniature warehouse-adjacent space that caters exclusively for online shopping. This can be an existing store during non-function hours or a separate location. It is meant for storage, sorting and handling online orders. A dark store is different from a regular store, because a dark store is completely focussed on fulfilling online orders, while regular stores are more focussed on in store sales. In comparison with a distribution centre, a dark store is located in close geographic proximity to the consumers, which makes it convenient for easy pick-up and fast delivery. In addition, dark stores and ship-from-store make it possible to reduce the number of transport movements with polluting vehicles. An alternative to a dark store is ship-from-store, where the store is servicing online customers and in store customers.

Sustainable logistics

It is becoming increasingly important to make the logistics sector more sustainable. This refers to a series of measures and actions that reduce the impact of logistics processes on the environment. This includes, for example, recyclable packaging, transport with environmentally friendly means of transport and shortening the supply chain. Not only is sustainable logistics stimulated and demanded from policy makers, consumers also attach more and more value to it. Several studies show that consumers are willing to make concessions if this means that they do less harm to the environment. For example, 75% of consumers would wait longer for parcels if they knew that opting for a shorter delivery period resulted in more air pollution and congestion. 60% of consumers are even willing to pay extra for sustainable delivery methods. Logistics companies that focus on making their processes more sustainable in 2022 not only contribute to creating a greener world, they will likely also gain more in terms of profit.

Photo by Patrick Connor Klopf on Unsplash