Last Mile: The New Frontier in the Retail Supply Chain, from Industry Week.
If your supply chain strategy includes last-mile delivery, your success will begin with a review of how your inventory is deployed, postponed, configured and distributed across various channels.
E-commerce sales have become ubiquitous. According to e-marketer, worldwide e-commerce sales will increase 20% this year to reach $1.5 trillion. Fueling retail’s expansion into untapped markets, the e-commerce fire is putting immense pressure on retailers to seamlessly meet customers’ expectations across devices, platforms and locations on a global scale.
Further fanning the flames is a driving need to offer expanded delivery capabilities, while increasing convenience without passing along any visible price increases to the customer. Whether consumers are researching, evaluating, or purchasing products online or in a store, their expectations about product availability, delivery charges and flexibility, return policies, and payment options are on the rise. To complicate matters, these preferences can vary by region, demographics and a myriad of other factors that will continue to evolve over time.
Behind this e-commerce conundrum lies a mass of fulfillment, inventory deployment, supply chain network design and omni-channel distribution challenges. Even gargantuan high-profile e-tailers—while having succeeded in offering customers inexpensive and same-day delivery options—are still struggling to maintain efficient last-mile solutions in a cost-effective and profitable manner.