Being Responsible for What We Sell and What We Consume
STORY INLINE POST
The annual study on online sales by the Mexican Association of Online Sales (AMVO) reports that e-commerce grew 27 percent in 2021 in Mexico, compared to 81 percent in 2020. It estimates that by 2025, online sales will advance by at least 15 percent each year.
Additionally, the study revealed that 46 percent of online shoppers expect shorter delivery times and simpler reverse logistics processes, while most deliveries are made in larger urban areas, such as the Valley of Mexico.
In short, Mexican consumers have been won over by door-to-door deliveries and do not seem to want to stop, as the frequency with which they shop online has increased significantly since 2020. The good news is that they are also interested and willing to make more conscious purchases in terms of packaging and environmental impact.
The figures are encouraging and hold great promise for business opportunities because, despite its exponential growth, e-commerce in Mexico has only reached an 11 percent share of commercial activity.
To gain market share, the supply side continues to focus on shorter delivery times and lower prices, while the pressure on the supply chain continues to mount. The cost will not go away, and someone must pay, whether it is the environment with more vehicles on the road or the quality of jobs generated by numerous delivery services offering deliveries under unsustainable conditions.
It is necessary to be responsible when expanding the service offering, taking the big picture into consideration. For example, even though it is true that the customer is in charge and we all work to obtain his preference, we can design an offer differentiated by convenience, value, and price, as well as promote responsible consumption in which we let customers know the reality of the impact of their purchases and offer options to mitigate it.
Fortunately, there are more and more examples of this. The iconic brand Levi Strauss & Co. launched a campaign in 2021 that proposes to "buy less, wear more" to reduce environmental impact.
Having an avocado delivered to your door in 15 minutes may sound like a great idea. However, as Andrew Tavener, marketing director of Descartes in the UK, mentions in a recent article, it is necessary to assess whether the proposition is a good one.
Let us also complete a frank exercise of self-criticism and think about whether the CO2 generated by express delivery and its cost is necessary, especially when in Mexico, corner stores that sell a little bit of everything are an important part of the social fabric and require local consumption to remain strong.
I do not expect, of course, that the purchase of products online will decrease; quite the contrary. But I am betting on the creation of a community that finds attractive alternatives focused on reducing the impact by redesigning a certain part of the process.
At Estafeta, we are promoting a service model that is not new and works with certain benefits. We are talking about pick-up points, or PUDOs (pick-up and drop-off points). We currently have the largest network of contact points in the country, with more than 2,000. We want the network to be wide enough for customers to choose to receive their shipments at one of them when they return home in the evening or when they go out for a walk with their pet. These networks can be complemented with lockers. PUDOs can also function as convenient options for the return of merchandise.
I invite you to think for a moment about the number of kilometers our vehicles will stop traveling in search of an address or a second delivery attempt, which represents less CO2 deposited in the atmosphere. Or of the benefit that the small business owner receives by boosting his sales thanks to new visitors to his premises.
PUDOs, or collection points, are a successful model, proven in many countries. In Mexico, they require only the opportunity to become part of our routine. There is no better time to do it than now, when the future of e-commerce looks promising; no better time than now to direct that growth toward more conscious practices regarding our relationship with the environment, our cities, and the way they will look and how we will live in them in the years to come.