During the pandemic, consumers have matured our relationship with electronic commerce
at the level that was planned to occur in five yearsThus, the urban distribution of goods has become strategic in the commercial value chain. While in the ‘offline’ environment the purchase ends when the product is paid, in ‘online’ the business ends when the product is received. Hence, logistics has become the new marketing of commerce. The receipt of the purchase is now part of the customer experience, therefore, all retailers need it to be produced with the highest quality.
Globally, the share of electronic commerce in total sales is close to 15%, but in three years it will reach 22%. It is already proven that the ARPU (average amount spent on e-commerce per user during a year) depends on the income of the consumer and their delivery experience.
The logistics management of this rapid explosion of electronic purchases has been possible thanks to the fabulous efforts of the companies in the sector and the fast integration of digital tools. These levels of demand are completely unaffordable, with minimal profitability, without intensive use of digital tools by logistics companies.
A pioneering study in the sector prepared by UNO together with the consulting firm Everis has identified a series of technologies called ‘quick-win’, that is, of higher profitability, among which is the ‘big data analitycs’, which is the massive data analysis, which allows reducing costs, optimizing resources, gaining efficiency, minimizing environmental impact and better managing demand forecasting. At the same time, IoT devices and traceability systems They allow from preventive maintenance and fleet monitoring, to cold chain management or stock control. Thanks to these technologies it is possible to have full and real-time control of the supply chain. On the other hand, artificial intelligence and ‘machine learning’ help to improve the sizing and distribution of warehouses and stock, automatically optimize routes in the last mile or improve information to the end user.
Challenges include, for example, the omnichannel management, to offer the best customer experience regardless of the channel used, security in operation and delivery, guaranteeing zero contact. All this without neglecting one of the most important challenges that we face as a society, which is sustainability and respect for the environment (‘green logistics’).
But also the sector explores new delivery sites in the city, alternatives to private homes such as lockers or so-called points of convenience, looking for more effectiveness. And, at the same time, we work intensively with local administrations, the Central Government and the DGT to develop measures that facilitate our activity, which is essential in the city of the future. That is why the supply needs of both citizens and establishments must be taken into account in new urban planning that must have, for example, ‘minihubs’, that is, smaller warehouses, but agile and close to the final consumer.
The main municipalities work with the so-called Decalogue DUM, which are ten recommendations made by operators to make this important business activity more operational and sustainable. Among the proposed measures are digitized loading and unloading areas, development of supra-municipal regulations and ordinances of a harmonized nature or the facilitation and regulation of the distribution of goods at non-conventional hours, among others.
Francisco Aranda Manzano is president of UNO Logística