In the age of e-commerce, last-mile delivery networks have become a vital yardstick to measure delivery experiences. In North America, the mainstream acceptance of e-commerce has a lot to do with Amazon and its obsession with putting customer needs at the center of its value chain.
The resulting ‘Amazon effect’ has triggered tremendous changes within supply chains, with the limelight squarely on last-mile delivery networks. Delivery has now evolved to being looked at from the consumer’s perspective – making transparency and speed of delivery two vital details within last-mile delivery operations.
Expediting delivery has meant that stakeholders are overhauling traditional logistics practices and using technology to phase out various inefficiencies within the ecosystem. This has led to shrinking delivery times. Consumers satisfied with waiting a few days to receive their parcels have now been accustomed to getting their packages in two days or less.
This trend has forced small- and mid-sized online retail businesses to look at options for improving their delivery experience to match major e-retailers like Amazon or eBay. Last-mile delivery startups are now sprouting within the market, promising to marry data intelligence and logistics to create highly efficient operations that can take on bigger market adversaries.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a black swan event that shocked global supply chains, paralyzing last-mile delivery networks for several weeks as cities went into lockdown and logistics workers were asked to socially distance at work. This impacted consumer activity, as an increasing number of people went online to buy goods from the comfort of their homes.
The e-commerce market has continued to grow at over 15% annually over the last decade. Statista estimates the global retail e-commerce market to be worth over $4.2 trillion in 2020, with annual projected growth of around 19%.
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