The next generation of retail (including ‘webrooming’, showrooming, and no-line commerce concepts) requires logistics networks tailored to the needs of each single channel. This new face of retail will require logistics providers to maintain an integrated view of all customer channels and inventory, along with dynamic delivery and fulfillment options and seamless customer service interactions.
Key Developments & Implications
The convergence of offline and online commerce has resulted in an ‘anytime, anywhere, from any device’ mentality for customers expecting a seamless omni-channel experience. With global B2B ecommerce sales overtaking B2C sales in 2017, logistics providers need to meet demands for more flexibility and visibility. This will require increasingly faster and varied fulfillment services – especially in terms of last-mile delivery options and seamless returns processes.
Omni-channel warehousing and fulfillment centers will require more flexibility in size, services, and location to react to demand in the shortest amount of time possible. This could involve logistics providers offering more postponement services, treating stores as final-mile fulfillment centers (e.g., Jack & Jones), renting out shared warehouse spaces to cover peaks (e.g., Hollaspace), or even turning warehouses into showrooms (e.g., IKEA).
‘Anytime, anywhere’ delivery models will be required to meet the promises made by companies to final consumers (e.g., same-day and even same-hour delivery). To satisfy customer expectations, companies will have to go beyond today’s last-mile delivery options and also provide new services that facilitate easy returns as well. Growing B2B ecommerce will also require specialized last-mile delivery services especially for high-value, time-critical deliveries. Already today innovative concepts are being explored, such as try-and-buy models (e.g., Taykit), delivery to car trunks, and smart locks enabling drop-off to houses even if no-one is at home.
Cross-channel omni-channel platforms shared between manufacturers, retailers, and logistics providers will be essential to gain complete visibility of customer interactions and – more importantly for logistics – a global overview of inventory. With the mix between offline and online channels, it will be essential for data and inventory between warehouses and other platforms to easily shift to meet peaks in demand. Here, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence will play a crucial role in such platforms, allowing logistics providers to stay agile and shift supply chain requirements as per anticipated demand.
Questions answered in this report:
- What is omni-channel?
- What are the best practices in omni-channel?
- What are the implications of omni-channel on the logistics industry?
- What are the omni-channel trends in Asia?
Talk to an Expert
Pang Mei Yee
Innovation, Asia Pacific
Mei Pang leads the DHL Asia Pacific Innovation Center (APIC). APIC is part of a DHL global innovation platform with a mission to inspire, connect and engage industries with the future of logistics. Under Mei’s leadership, a team of innovators seed ideas to link businesses and relevant partners; bringing innovative solutions to life.
An entrepreneur in a global company, Mei is known to bring innovation and entrepreneurship to the teams she leads. As Partner at DHL Consulting and head of office for Asia-Pacific until 2015, Mei doubled the business size of DHL Consulting by spearheading a new service portfolio. DHL Consulting advises senior management of Deutsche Post DHL Group on management topics and customers on supply chain strategy. She led a team of consultants across Asia Pacific and has a keen focus on improving supply chain effectiveness for DHL’s customers in Asia.