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SINGAPORE — As e-commerce continues to takes off in a bigger way than before, e-retailers and delivery firms alike are scrambling to put together a variety of solutions to beat a way through the logistics jungle that could put a dampener on the potential boom. Here and internationally, e-commerce players are confronted by a slew of logistics-related challenges that some say present the only stumbling block to growth, as customers increasingly demand shorter lead times and complain about unreliable or inexperienced third-party logistics providers, especially in this region. “The lines are blurring between logistics and e-commerce,” said Mr Roger Egan, co-founder and chief executive officer of local online grocery store RedMart. “There is a misconception that e-commerce is all about the front end — website design and mobile applications. But those who can control the entire supply chain and logistics will win.” Some players in the field are thus seeking to beat the game by creating their own supply and logistics chain, including having their own fleet of delivery vehicles and customised delivery times, and partnering brick-and-mortar firms to provide pick-up points. “Much of the e-commerce business really is about the last mile end of the entire process: Delivery. Unfortunately in Asia, there aren’t very many well-developed third-party logistics companies that are used to business-to-consumer (B2C) deliveries,” he said. To cater to an increasing volume of online shopping packages, SingPost — which recently agreed to sell a 10.35 per cent stake to Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba for S$312.5 million — will be reinstating Saturday deliveries from today. The postal service provider had ceased collections and deliveries in 2010, citing low mail volume. But reflecting the growing trend in online shopping, local delivery of mail packages jumped more than 50 per cent between FY2007/08 and FY 2013/14, SingPost said. By year-end, SingPost will also double the number of POPStations — a network of 24-hour automated kiosks across Singapore where consumers can pick up their e-commerce parcels from — to 100 from the current 47. A S$45 million investment to upgrade its mail sorting infrastructure will see the processing rate of packages improve from 85 to 90 per cent, said a spokesperson. The deal with Alibaba — which also involves discussing a possible international e-commerce logistics venture —will allow SingPost to leverage off the Chinese juggernaut’s customer base and scale up its regional e-commerce logistics operations, analysts said. To ease their delivery load and shorten lead time for their customers, online retailers such as apparel e-store Zalora have taken to dropping off packages at pick-up points. Last year, Zalora struck up a partnership with 7-Eleven to allow its customers to pick up their online orders at 18 convenience stores. That figure has now grown to 72 outlets. Ms Rostin Javadi, managing director of operations, said between 12 and 14 per cent of its customers opt for such a delivery method. “We understand that for shoppers, getting their items quickly is important. As such, we set our target high for the warehouse, ensuring that we process up to 99 per cent of the orders on the same day that they come in, so long as they are placed before our evening cut-off,” said Ms Javadi. Online luxury goods store Reebonz said it, too, is seeking collaborations with partners to create pick-up points, as well as even drop-off points for its reseller programme. Even brick-and-mortar retailers are getting in on the action. Electronics chain Courts, for instance, has created pick-up points at all its outlets for its online customers in response to burgeoning online sales volume. Mr Tim Luce, country CEO of Courts Singapore, said its online sales has increased 89 per cent from 2012 to last year. “Half of our online customers choose to collect. We have a massive fleet of vehicles on the road, we are moving our warehouse operations towards a 24-hour one, and we deliver at night and over the next day.” Elsewhere, e-commerce giant Amazon is experimenting with neighbourhood grocery stores and petrol stations as delivery points. At the same time, online providers are also beefing up their in-house logistics operations. Stated Mr Egan of RedMart, which has 25 delivery vehicles: “Consumers here have become more and more demanding. They want two-hour delivery and they don’t wish to wait all day.” Ms Javadi said Zalora is growing its own fleet of vehicles rapidly. It has also developed a “modular approach” to warehousing and logistics, which means it would be “easy and fast” to scale up operations. In warehousing, it has doubled its capacity by building new inbound and outbound stations. “We have a very gifted team of analysts and statisticians in the group, building reliable forecasts, allowing us to anticipate the volumes and plan accordingly, always staying one step ahead of the order growth,” said Ms Javadi. As e-commerce continues to grow, other challenges, such as cross-border compliance, are bound to crop up. Forecasts from market research firm Euromonitor International show Singapore consumers will spend more than S$1 billion online this year, up 9 per cent from last year. A White Paper published this year by payment solutions provider Payvision found that Singapore and Malaysia make up the largest e-commerce markets in South-east Asia, generating almost half of total online retail sales in this region. These two markets are expected to show double-digit growth in the next few years. It also found that an estimated 55 per cent of all e-commerce transactions in Singapore are cross-border, much higher than in Japan, South Korea and even China. Said Mr Shingo Okamoto, head of Singapore e-commerce business at Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, which recently set up a presence here: “Cross-border e-commerce logistics — more specifically cross-border shipping — may become a challenge as it often involves compliance with each country’s different set of rules and regulations.”
SAVANNAH, Ga.--thanks to the Georgia Ports Authority is participating in a USDA pilot program to deliver South American citrus, grapes and blueberries sooner and lasting longer for consumers in the Southeastern U.S.
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., July 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Sears®, Kmart® Team to Expand Free Store Pickup to More Than 2,000 Locations. Cross store pickup options for Shop Your Way members shopping sears.com or kmart.com creates added convenience.
The online world is full of opportunities and there are startups that have made millions of dollars in just a couple of years simply by creating an e-store with a large number of shoppers. With millions of ecommerce startups popping up on the World Wide Web, getting buyers on a startup e-commerce website can be a challenge
Caixin Media After Rising to Dominance at Home, Alibaba Eyes E-Commerce Opportunities ... Caixin Media Shenzhen OneTouch was founded in 2001 to provide export services, including logistics, customs clearance and tax rebates.
Click and collect may be the buzz phrase in online delivery circles but, according to new research from ecommerce agency Ampersand Commerce, consumers would prefer to be offered a next-day delivery option.
BusinessNewsDaily Pricing Changes Will Hit Smallest E-Commerce Shippers Hardest BusinessNewsDaily "For a number of years, Amazon has been building its own supply chain — consisting of USPS, truckload carriers, regional carriers and local couriers —...
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