CFG attended the fourth Austro-German eCommerce Logistics Day at the Albert Hall, Vienna, to learn about the innovative solutions to the challenges posed by the sharp rise in eCommerce. Around 120 delegates from over 70 companies attended the full-day event based around the question „eCommerce / OmniChannels are undergoing a growth-explosion! How will logistics cope with this?“.
The customer decides whether to purchase from a web shop again, based on the final delivery experience at the door” and “The customer is our employer” were the messages coming across at the event hosted jointly by the IDIH (the Germany-based Institute for Interactive Retail) and Markus Jaklitsch from the Austrian LOGISTIK Express magazine, in cooperation with both the German Retailers‘ Association and the Austrian Retailers‘ Association.
The rise in eCommerce and “the last mile” decisions are driving the future.
The aim of the conference, which has seen growing success since its first implementation in 2016, and has already led to more synergies between the two countries’ Retailer Associations, and thus also within the European Parliament, is to inform delegates on the latest developments and trends in eCommerce and digitalisation, as well as bringing eCommerce solutions providers together with solution users. To this end, delegates could browse company stands during the coffee sessions, and network directly. The agenda consisted of key speakers on eCommerce, integrators, end-logistics, software and hardware solutions, and comprised two panel discussions, bringing the speakers together to talk about challenges, practical examples and solutions available and being developed.
The last mile vs the green mile…
eCommerce is growing ten times faster than stationary commerce, and the online potentials are still far from exhausted. The explosion in web shops over the last few years (from 3,000 to 12,000 in Austria alone in the last 10 years – not to mention all the global web shops available. 60% of all eCommerce purchases in Austria end up as foreign revenue), means that the number of parcels for delivery has massively increased – even more so, since single orders are often split into several part-shipments, plus around 40% of those parcels end up being sent back to the vendor.
This throws up a number of challenges: more traffic, since the deliverers are often different third-party companies, more CO2 output, often-times customers are not in, so journeys are made more than once, and effective route-planning is not easy…
Solutions being developed, and which were presented on 25 SEP 19, include:
- “city hubs” where deliveries (and part-deliveries) can be consolidated and sent out on a single journey to the customer
- the use of delivery bikes (small pedal-powered vans)
- the use of electric delivery vans
- using existing transport possibilities in the vicinity in times when they would otherwise be running empty (space-share)
- the use of SaaS apps that plan the best route in real-time and save massively on time, as well as give a clear idea of when delivery will happen, or allow the client to divert it almost up to the last minute
- projects to allow employees to have parcels delivered to work at predefined timeslots (on 2 set days a week) instead of home – ensuring that the package does not get delivered to an empty house
“The delivery person is the company business card – one-third of customers no longer buys from the web shop if they are unsatisfied with the delivery.” Time is of the essence in eCommerce processes, yet it is promising to see the efforts (in Austria’s case, in cooperation with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences) being put in to do everything possible to reduce the negative environmental impact of the exploding eCommerce trend.
In answer to the question as to whether high-street shopping will die out, it was predicted that new store formats will come, where high-street shops act as experience-based showrooms: people can go to “touch and feel” products and get sales advice, before deciding if they want to order – then also having the choice of collecting the product from a 24/7 self-service slot themselves, or having it delivered.
Picture: KNAPP presentation by Bernd Stoeger and Markus Neuper – image © Gledhill