Munich, November 19, 2018_ Long trails of brake lights on thoroughfares in German urban areas during the Christmas season reveal once again that the cities’ infrastructure has long reached its capacity limits. In order that dealers save themselves the worry as to whether their logistics service provider can also react in a customer-oriented way during times of stress, they should take a close look at the topic of order fulfilment early on – for example at the INTERNET WORLD EXPO, where a large number of logistics service providers will present their portfolios.
The Christmas shopping season will once again turn the spotlight onto a logistics sub-sector: This year alone, parcel deliverers are expected to carry 330 pieces of mail to private households. And the media will once again report on problems like a lack of drivers, delays, lost packages and an increase in traffic problems, which is only a one-sided representation of one of Germany’s most important economic sectors. After all, the logistics sector employees over three million people throughout Germany and, according to the German Logistics Association (Bundesvereinigung Logistik (BVL) e.V), generated revenues of 263 billion euros in 2017.
In addition to the classic and familiar logistical channels, discussions are already underway concerning underground cargo transport tubes that transport goods on palettes automatically from a suburban-based freight center to inner cities. And for those areas where vehicles are essential, businesses are currently testing alternative transport and delivery options: from cargo bikes to electro-trucks through to crowd delivery – a large number of projects are underway nationwide in Germany.
For retailers this means that although they can continue to trust the expertise of logistics service providers, they should continuously and at an early stage take a close look at how order fulfilment is handled in their company. Christian Athen, CEO and Founder of odc – ondemandcommerce GmbH, and exhibitor at INTERNET WORLD EXPO 2019, has this to say: “A large share of the logistics market is still based on the manual exchange of Excel files and coordination via telephone, even though there are solutions that facilitate fully digitalized and automated processes.”
Time for an in-house fulfillment strategy
“Logistics & fulfillment shouldn’t be a source of stress – but should be, in the true sense of the word: the fulfillment of customers’ wishes. And to accomplish this, the ‘right’ partner can make a valuable contribution,” says Kai Schotten, Sales Manager at Asendia Germany GmbH, who will again present his services at the INTERNET WORLD EXPO 2019 (Hall C5, Stand H156), and who is seeking to position himself as a reliable retail partner.
For retailers, this means that they must, when establishing their fulfilment strategy, take an even stronger customer-oriented approach. According to a study by Parcellab – also an exhibitor at INTERNET WORLD EXPO 2019 (Hall C6, Stand B21) in fall 2018 – customer centricity should not be underestimated. The analysis reveals that when it comes to logistics services, a majority of online retailers operate according to the motto ‘take it or leave it’. Retailers optimize their shipping so that it can be carried out as economically and efficient as possible; the needs of customers usually play no part in the process. On the contrary: instead of aligning shipping and returns services with customer requirements, customers must orient themselves to the needs of the dealers. According to the Parcellab study, this starts with the choice from a range of parcel service providers. With 79 of the 100 biggest German online shops, customers cannot choose between the various providers, but must accept the logistics specialist that cooperates with the shop – for over two-thirds of the shops, this means DHL. A mere 21 from 100 retailers offer their customers the option to choose between two delivery services. Only one shop operator offers a choice of three logistics partners. However, with 6 of the 21 retailers, this so-called customer orientation has a major catch: the costs for this are passed on to the customers.
Nevertheless, when it comes to customer centricity, retailers can by all means rely on the support of logistics service providers. According to Barbara Geißler, Business Development with INTERNET WORLD EXPO exhibitor Lufapack (Hall C5, Stand J181): “Our logistics services, such as pre-packaging, set creation, promotional packaging, assembly, transport organization and returns management, as well as assistance with setting up a website and /or online shop are designed solely for the purpose of easing the daily business load of our customers and avoiding logistics-related stress factors.”
Always keep an eye on scalability
As far as online retail in Germany is concerned, the end of the growth phase is still nowhere in sight. Online turnover by 2021 is expected to reach 80.4 billion euros (retail prices, including VAT), according to a prognosis from retail experts of IFH Köln in a trend calculation in ‘Branchenreport Onlinehandel’. “We expect that innovative providers will continue to set new trends periodically over the coming years, both in online and stationary retail. This is a key assumption for our trend calculation through to 2021, as well as the increasing relevance of cross channel retailing,” explains Dr. Kai Hudetz, CEO IFH Köln.
Thomas Finke, Head of Sales B+S GmbH Logistik und Dienstleistungen, a company that will also be represented at EXPO 2019 (Hall C5, Stand J186), adds: “Retailers must ensure flexibility and scalability in order to react to the seasonal requirements and peaks in the purchasing behavior of consumers. Over the next years, issues like personal recruiting and the optimum management of logistical capacities will become decisive factors for success.”
About the Internet World Expo
The search for trends, solutions and service providers for retails inevitably leads to the Internet EXPO – the commerce e-xperience. Since 1997, the leading trade fair for all trade topics in the German-speaking region has been presenting the entire portfolio of retail-related issues like omnichannel, mulitchannel, payment, marketing, usability, logistics, software, and social media – to name just a few. Through the convergence of online retail and stationary retail, the Internet World EXPO has, in the meantime, become a mandatory venue for all stationary retailers and service providers.
Internet World EXPO is a brand of the media and advanced training company Ebner Verlag Ulm. With the trade fair “Internet World EXPO” and a range of expert congresses, the website internetworld.de and the specialist biweekly publication INTERNET WORLD Business, the company provides the target group of Internet professionals with profound expert knowledge, the latest news, and important contacts. In 2019, the 22nd Internet World EXPO will take place at the Munich Exhibition Center on March 12 and 13.
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