The e-commerce space is still anyone’s game as evident from recent announcements and the logistics that is required for success is also in a state of change.
For example, in an interesting move, Amazon announced plans to open a brick & mortar store in New York City and pop-up kiosks in a couple of cities in California. Sounds a bit counterintuitive perhaps? As suggested by a recent Forbes article, perhaps this is being done as a brand awareness campaign. The e-commerce space is getting crowded and some brick & mortar retailers that have embraced the “omni-channel” approach are finding success. Brand awareness is just one possibility as these locations can also be utilized to fulfill orders and thus get products to customers even faster.
Meanwhile, Google has announced it would offer an annual $95 a year subscription for same day delivery for its Google Express service. A bit different from Amazon’s Prime service which is available across the US, Google customers order items online from Google Express or a partner store and then a Google Express employee picks up those orders and delivers them to the customer’s door the same or next day. The service is currently available only in San Francisco, San Jose, Manhattan, Boston, Chicago and Washington DC. Is this a sustainable model? Perhaps not as Google needs to figure out if it is a delivery company and if so, perhaps an acquisition for needed delivery expertise is in its future.
For logistics and transportation providers competing against these non-traditional competitors, the gauntlet has been thrown down. UPS is one company which has decided to take on this challenge head on by expanding its UPS Access Point service from Europe into the US market. Currently being tested in a couple of select markets, the plan is to expand it to all UPS Stores in early 2015 and other locations by the end of 2015. This will not only be a cost savings for UPS but will also allow customers additional delivery location options versus waiting at home.
As e-commerce continues to spread its influence, non-traditional and traditional logistics and transportation providers are preparing for what is expected to be a busy holiday season and a sustained growth in demand beyond. In 2015 their success will depend on the implementation e-commerce solutions to attract the customer’s attention in a growing market.
GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN INTELLIGENCE (GSCi)