Supply chain logistics have been through a paradigm shift in recent years. With the explosion of smartphones, tablets, wearable devices, social media and the like, consumers are always connected to the Internet. This has given rise to a consumer-centric era of commerce where consumers want to get whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want, and delivered in a way that is most suited to them.
Naturally, in this flow, supply chain logistics are also getting tailored to meet the expanding demands of consumers. Amazon has always set high standards when it comes to wowing customers’ delivery expectations, whether it’s through their Prime subscriptions or innovating with the exciting idea of drones. Just a few days ago, they announced that they will be expanding Sunday deliveries to most of the US in 2014. They are also in the process of designing the 8th iteration of their delivery drones. Although the idea still hasn’t gotten approval from the FAA, just knowing that products could be delivered to you within 30 minutes while you sit on your couch is a mind-boggling notion. So far, we thought only pizza could do that!
Besides same day and Sunday delivery of goods, there are other intuitive ideas out there like “buy online, pick-up in store”, “free shipping, free returns” that are being implemented by major retailers like Macy’s and Best Buy to boost online commerce. There are businesses that are going the extra mile and letting consumers order items like clothes, shoes, and glasses for free, try them on at home, and then decide whether they want to buy it or not. Even a company like Bungalow Clothing that sells high-end designer wear is using this strategy. This is essentially bringing the dressing room to the comfort of your home.
Another area where supply chain logistics are innovating by the minute is that of online grocery services. Providers like Amazon Fresh and Walmart are trying out new ideas to keep consumers satisfied at all times. The latest trend in this space is that of “farm-to-fridge” delivery which is essentially aiming to bring the farmer’s market to your doorstep.
Commerce is becoming pervasive, which means that every interaction with the consumer in the physical world or online, is an opportunity to inform, educate, and buy or sell products and services. In a world where businesses are constantly striving to exceed consumer expectations, the supply chain is a very important piece of the puzzle. When there are infinite channels through which to reach the consumers, businesses have to make sure that no stone is left unturned. It’s not just about the bottom line, but also about enabling a highly efficient, seamless, and delightful way of doing commerce.