From Black Friday in the west to Singles Day in the east and let us not forget Cyber Monday, the manifestation of ecommerce within modern society is one that cannot be ignored. Some of the largest corporations in the world Alibaba, Amazon and eBay owe their staggering success to the internet and our addiction to online shopping.
The Ecommerce Catalyst
While ecommerce and those who lead the field are a topic that has been discussed at length and on a daily basis, certainly over the last ten years or so, what isn’t focused on as a topic quite as much is the rise of logistics and the courier business.
Haulage, parcel delivery and particularly “lifestyle couriers” have grown in parallel with the boom we have seen in ecommerce since its burgeoning conception in the mid-nineties.
Acting as a catalyst, ecommerce started a revolution in the way we consume goods, buying stuff on the internet went from novelty to cheap and convenient and from there, there was no turning back.
And of course every time we click “Buy Now,” our actions prompt a chain reaction of events, one of these being the collection and delivery of an item.
The Scale of the Beast
The sheer scale of today’s logistics and parcel delivery sector, in the UK alone, for example, is staggering. The numbers that accompany the physical side to the sector give some perspective.
In 2016, turnover in the sector was reported to have jumped up by 9.7%, reaching almost £10 billion, according to the Apex Insight consultancy. And it isn’t just the big ecommerce companies that are posting out parcels, private sales and returns accounted for a significant proportion of the turnover.
Transactions completed online now account for around 15% of all retail sales in the UK, with £133 billion being spent online in 2016.
These figures are the reason that over the last decade we have seen such a significant rise in the parcel delivery sector. New and dynamic parcel delivery companies are adding to the momentum that the industry has accrued.
Add to that the fact that some of the bigger companies, Amazon for example are starting their own delivery service and you can see just how vibrant and lucrative the industry is.
Technology and Innovation
To cope with the increased demand for courier services, companies have had to do much more than just increase the size of their fleet of vehicles and drivers.
Technology has played a vital role in the development of the industry. Bigger warehouses now play home to automated sorting equipment and investment in digital technology means that GPS is now used as a navigation tool, while handheld tablets provide delivery addresses, tracking information and have touchscreens so we can sign for our items.
This injection of technology has made services more efficient and much quicker.
The world of logistics and courier services is a far different place to that of twenty years ago and with drones on the horizon, who knows what it will look like twenty years from now.