With the end of the season comes the prospects for the next one and these are often associated with trends that shape logistics not only in the field of e-commerce, but completely. Recent years have shown us how fast logistics can change.
Last season, however, new trends gradually began to take shape, which will be more significant this year. The e-commerce customers themselves have started to change their shopping customs, which is also related to their needs. These include, for example, fast delivery, good communication with the seller, but also an increasing emphasis on “green work” with the package.
Taking these trends into account, we at Fulfillment by FHB Group have identified the main ones, which we believe will be the main driver of e-commerce logistics in 2022.
1. Sustainability is an increasing necessity
Each shipment carries a certain carbon footprint, which immediately affects our planet. Recently, a European study compared emissions from online and traditional shopping. The results show that the emissions we create by shopping on eshops can be up to four times higher.
Customers are therefore increasingly aware of the need to behave more responsibly towards nature, by paying attention to the form in which a package is delivered or packaged. They then compare among the sellers who is offering a “greener” alternative and decide on their purchase based on that.
E-commerce sellers are more often forced to come up with new alternatives for handling the package to gradually reduce its carbon footprint. There are several solutions, such as a suitable method of packaging.
This is associated with, for example, fit-to-size packaging in which only the necessary amount of paper is used. This can be achieved with a packaging machine that can capture the exact size of the goods and thus quickly and ecologically pack even a large number of packages in a short time.
Another “greener” alternative could be by using ecological tape instead of artificial tape, which is used in most cases. In the end, these options also affect transport. The smaller the package is, the more efficient the vehicle can be used and thus reduce the carbon footprint again.
Transport can be used to their 100-percent capacity. And once delivered, the carrier can even pick up undelivered or returned shipments by return.
2. Progress in process of automatization and informatization
Technologies and industries are constantly evolving, and the field of logistics cannot be an exception. Investing in automatization is simply crucial from the point of view of maintaining competitiveness. The number of e-commerce customers has increased in recent years, which also increases the number of shipments.
At the same time, they prefer fast and error-free delivery, which is now a necessity. Automatization is the way to withstand this pressure in the long run, where it has its place both in storing and shipping.
Furthermore, properly configured information processes can significantly simplify the entire e-commerce logistics process. Whether marking the goods, picking and sorting them for order, up to the actual finalization.
At the same time, real-time tracking and location systems are becoming an increasingly popular trend among online sellers and customers. Knowing where the package is located gives you the opportunity to solve problems in advance. The software can also help you set up a marketing or sales plan based on data collection on consumers’ shopping behaviour.
3. Sales beyond the borders
The e-commerce environment is becoming more international every year. The trend has begun in recent years, and we estimate that it will intensify during this current season. If the eshop wants to be successful, it must be able to sell in sufficient volumes with a satisfactory margin to several countries.
In order to compete, retailers are therefore forced to constantly adapt their reach, eshop interface, or transport lines to other countries. Each has its own rules and the know-how of how to orientate abroad will be a fundamental difference for companies.
However, even if e-commerce sellers have their own network of transport lines, they still have to look for the most suitable solutions to keep their business profitable. One of them may be, for example, outsourcing the logistics to 3PL companies. As a result, they are relieved of a significant logistical burden and are able to devote their full attention to the processes in which they excel.
4. Responsibility will be transferred to 3PL services
Ensuring all these trends can be challenging for small and medium-sized businesses. This can be problematic even for larger e-commerce companies, as some changes require millions of euros in investments.
However, the customer does not consider these reasons and wants to buy products fast, easily, and in the most eco-friendly way possible. So, with the goal of meeting their needs, more and more companies are choosing to outsource part or all of their logistics to 3PL fulfillment companies. They can store goods and work with shipments according to the needs of the merchant.
In addition, the investments of such companies are mainly focused on improving logistics. This is not as easy in the case of an eshop, as they need to work on improving and selling their products.
Fulfillment companies also have know-how about importing packages abroad. Through their transport lines or strategically located warehouses, they are able to make full use of their resources so that the package is delivered with the lowest possible carbon footprint.
Hand in hand with trends at Fulfillment by FHB Group
Our long-term goal is to constantly develop our solutions, as we want to offer the most complex services for the benefit of the customer. That is why we regularly invest in automatization.
Last year, for example, we managed to launch a mechanical high-speed packaging line, thanks to which we can use only the necessary volume of material for packaging. From an ecological point of view, this is the right step, which we supplement with other eco-friendly options in agreement with the customer.
Also in transport, we are constantly expanding our network of regular lines around Europe, while making sure that our vehicles are used to the full. This eliminates the delivery roads with half-empty cars.
Meanwhile, each of our drivers takes returned or undelivered shipments on the way back. We can deliver shipments with maximum efficiency and at the required speed, for example, the next day to several countries around the world.
However, we also do not forget about technologies and information systems. Thanks to them, we can reduce the error rate of packages to zero, as well as be aware of where the goods are located from storage to delivery.
We are seeing a growing trend among e-commerce retailers for 3PL fulfillment services every year, which is why we have decided to expand our warehouse-picking zone with a new four-storey mezzanine shelving system. Therefore, through the continuous improvement of our services, we can constantly accept new customers.