Over the past decade, the rise of the e-commerce sector has transformed the way that consumers purchase goods.  With extensive choice, fast delivery and online peer-to-peer reviews all contributing to continuous growth for the sector.  For the logistics industry, the growth in online sales and the requirements for next and same day deliveries has increased the demand for warehouse facilities situated close to major cities and transportation links.  

The faster turnaround time for orders to be picked, packed and delivered has been matched with a greater demand of effective reverse logistics solutions, with recent statistics indicating that c.25% of items bought online are returned, compared to c.8% of goods bought at a store.  What’s more, the returns policy of an online retailer and the consumer experience of the return process have both been shown to influence conversion and repeat purchasing.  

To remain successful post-dotcom, businesses have had to adapt to the changes in consumer purchasing behaviours and the logistics industry has had to keep up with these evolving demands.  Now, there’s a new focus on the industry to work smarter with the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).  From higher levels of warehouse automation to robotics in final mile delivery, how AI will lead the next transformation in our supply chains is yet to be seen.  However, the driving force behind both AI and the rise of e-commerce is the same: to improve process efficiency.  After all, isn’t that at the heart of every change across the logistics industry?

Ellena Austin, Yusen Logistics