The Landscape of E- Logistics and What to Expect in 2022
STORY INLINE POST
After almost two years of the COVID-19 emergency, there may not be a sector as dynamic and challenging as e-commerce logistics. At a global level, e-commerce will go down in history as one of the industries with a “before and after” deeply defined by the pandemic. Thus, the so-called e-logistics will be critical in 2022 for all digital stores, no matter how big or small they may be. The customer experience is a fundamental key that adds value in a highly competitive market that is increasingly connected and permeated by digitalization on all fronts.
In Mexico alone, electronic commerce finished 2020 with a total value of MX$316 billion (US$15 billion), which already represents a significant 9 percent of the retail industry. Concerning the previous year, growth was a surprising 81 percent under the inertia of the habits that the pandemic installed in consumption. And while it is a relevant indicator, it only represents the tip of the iceberg in a series of structural changes within logistics, digital transformation, and online sales for SMEs in the region.
As 2021 draws to a close, it is an excellent time to recap the main experiences, trends, and changes in the digital commerce ecosystem in the face of the new challenges that next year will bring to the sector.
Last Mile: This Year's Challenge
Last mile became one of the most significant challenges in 2021. Therefore, since it's the final part of the process in delivering an order to the end consumer, it is considered a crucial step (and one of the most expensive and complex in the entire supply chain as well) in e-commerce logistics, mainly due to the impact it has on costs and customer-satisfaction levels. Hence, the strategies in 2021 were focused on satisfying users in the shortest possible time, which implied adjusting the costs of both people and transport.
From the above, it can be inferred that in 2022, digital stores should focus on solutions to help them meet this need in the best possible way, among which are the use of electric or hybrid vehicles to reduce the impact of the carbon footprint and increase the variety of delivery methods, such as alternative midpoints, as well as locating logistics centers in strategic points that reduce delivery time and use tools to plan, optimize, and analyze routes.
Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store
Derived from the previous point, click and collect ("buy online and collect in-store") has also made its way to the top of the list of strategies business should take a closer look at for 2022. This new logistics strategy combines the convenience of online shopping with the speed of product delivery at a point of sale, which gives the consumers the possibility of choosing the time that best suits them to pick up their purchase, among a range of options. This can even take place on the same day, depending on the business’ logistics process. Digital businesses can take advantage of these dynamics to reduce process complexity and operating costs related to shipping, among other benefits.
International Sales: An Encouraging Future
Another of the main trends observed in Mexican e-commerce during 2021 was a greater disposition among digital stores to sell outside the country. For example, in marketplaces such as eBay, 75 percent of the products from national stores are already destined for shipping abroad. This boom has been driven by benefits such as independence from local markets, increased sales through foreign buyers, and profits in international currencies.
Also, digital businesses should pay special attention to customs processes to boost their international shipments. Mainly because, unlike the local market, selling abroad involves several filters and regulations to verify the merchandise. Thus, stores must always have in hand the accurate documentation in terms of addresses, merchandise description, number of pieces, permits and contacts to avoid customs retention and lengthen the number of days to delivery.
With all that in mind, 2022 will undoubtedly be a year full of new challenges for the digital business ecosystem since the digital transformation will continue its march while electronic commerce opens up to new frontiers and segments. And it is precisely in that dimension where logistics will be crucial and will mark new regional paradigms