With the emergence of more and more ecommerce sites, the logistics of how businesses work and distribute goods has greatly changed in recent years. Although in the past, the physical storefront was an important factor to generate sales, today this is not the case.
Before, businesses had to be situated in the prime location. They needed a storefront in a location where plenty of shoppers would visit, where there was plenty of traffic, and where they had steady business. With ecommerce, and logistics today, businesses still need a warehouse or distribution center to manage their inventory and supply chain, but an actual storefront to work with customers is all digital
With the emergence of B2C ecommerce, the relationship between customer and e-retailer has greatly changed. For starters, there are new actors in the play. New strictly "online" ecommerce businesses have emerged. But, businesses which already have a storefront are also making their way onto the world of online selling and retail.
This increase in competition is good for the consumer (lower prices), and retailer, as it doesn't limit where they can sell based on location alone. Location is also different. Today, retailers can choose distribution centers which are larger, and they can be in smaller regions, to drive down cost of operation. With online sales, they no longer are forced to stick to one geographic region.
Purchases are directly linked to customers. In fact, they are directly linked to the distribution center in many cases. Customers can order online, and their order is going directly to the distribution center in many cases. This cuts out the middle man, and gives the customer more control.
Tracking is also a major part of the distribution today. Customers want to know where their order is and when it will arrive. This forces distribution centers to provide some form of tracking to the customer, with each order placed. In essence, tracking and reporting has become vital in today's more fluid logistics supply chains for ecommerce stores.
With ecommerce being more prevalent today, physical distribution centers are changing in many ways. Economies of scale (large malls or shopping centers) and the conventional supply chain are being challenged more than ever in the past. Local warehouses and distribution centers are relied upon, in major metro areas today, in order for deliveries to be made on a timely basis for customers. This, in turn, has shaped the role of many of the top logistics management companies throughout the world.
Further, the consumer is no longer maintaining the load or paying the costs for moving goods from store to home today; with ecommerce, businesses are bearing this load, so as to keep customers happy and to outdo their competition. In urban areas, growing logistics demands of ecommerce businesses, are more and more difficult to keep track with, due to the many orders which are being made by customers online on a daily basis.
Although the traditional storefront retail center will never go away, more and more ecommerce sites are popping up, changing the way in which business run. With changes in logistics, supply chain management, and how orders are placed, businesses have to make the right changes, if they hope to compete in today's digital marketplace.continue...
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