There has been a lot of banter lately about the future of brick and mortar retail. On one side, you’ll hear that the brick and mortar store is still king, and won’t be going anywhere. On the other side, you’ll hear that e-commerce is slowly taking its toll on the brick and mortar store and will eventually supplant it as the number one option for consumers. The truth is most likely somewhere in the middle. The reality is that brick and mortar retailers are turning to e-commerce as a complementary option for their consumers, and are trying to bridge the gap by fulfilling orders through whichever channel he consumer wants – in-store or e-commerce fulfillment center. This week’s news takes a look at this changing landscape and the impact of the e-commerce store.
- Amazon plans to ship packages before you buy them
- Small Businesses Hope to Gain From the Rollout of New Addresses
- Retail giant chooses midstate for new fulfillment center
- New Report Sets a Course for Cleaner Freight Transportation in California
- Cass Truckload Linehaul Index
Consumers might not have time to even think about drones as Amazon has filed a U.S. patent for “anticipatory package shipping.” The company has developed an algorithm they think will tell them what a consumer will buy before they have fully made the decision. If it works, it can cut down on the shipping times as the package is already in transit. If it doesn’t work, they can redirect the shipment to a warehouse or fulfillment center. It’s basically using predictive analytics to get a jump start on the fulfillment process. But what happens if the package gets delivered without the consumer buying it? The patent also reads “delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill.”
With Amazon controlling so much of the e-commerce market, many small businesses are selling goods in their marketplace. However, the addition of new domain addresses may help the SMB drive more traffic to their sites. New domain names such as .bike, .clothing, and .luxury will open up more opportunities for the SMB to sell products. The hope is that businesses that sell highly specialized goods can use these new domains to differentiate themselves in the market. An uptick in sales could impact their ability to fulfill orders efficiently and on-time. But it is probably a problem they will welcome with open arms.
In keeping with the e-commerce theme, Nordstrom announced plans to build its east coast online fulfillment center in Lancaster County, PA. This will centralize their fulfillment operations for east coast orders, and according to Nordstrom, is the “ideal location” to expand its e-commerce fulfillment capabilities. The center, which will open in the summer of 2015 positions the retailer to improve on-time order delivery of their e-commerce orders.
All this talk about fulfillment and shipping leads to an interesting study out of California. The California Cleaner Freight Coalition commissioned a study on ways to modernize how goods are moved through California. The point is to reduce harmful air pollution while maintaining the same service levels of traditional freight management. If California can make environmental improvements to freight transportation, it will set the new standard for the rest of the U.S. One of the key findings looks to the adoption of electric transportation technologies to curb greenhouse emissions:
“Deploying electric transportation technologies that are currently in development or demonstration for local and short-haul trips would provide the greatest overall reduction in pollutants, and could eliminate tailpipe emissions in communities impacted by freight movement.”
And with that, I wish you a happy weekend.
Song of the week: “Man on Fire” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros