5 Challenges and Opportunities Facing Retailers Establishing a Global E-Commerce Supply Chain
3. Geo-mapping effective logistics clusters
Challenge: Proximity to the highest volume markets is associated with higher cost real estate.
Opportunity: The value of close proximity to a strong customer base and a sophisticated workforce may well be worth the higher costs. Moreover, logistics clusters located directly outside city centers can have easy access to customers via highway and public transportation.
4. Acting globally, thinking locally
Challenge: Meeting customers where they're located means different things in different places. A universal strategy won't apply; each market needs its own plan of attack.
Opportunity: Investigating local customs to meet preferred forms of convenience can drive success locally as well as innovation globally. For example, the U.K.'s recent trend of "click and collect' in brick-and-mortar locations is an idea that's gaining momentum globally; Australia's purpose-built parcel lockers are catching on; and India's pay-upon-delivery option is also a convenient solution in some locales.
5. Answering the call to outsource logistics
Challenge: Since the 1980s, when retailers began setting up their own distribution centers, retailers have generally been in control of logistics. This can become unwieldy when handling thousands of overnight deliveries to locations around the world.
Opportunity: Strategic partnerships can promote efficiency and customer convenience, as seen in the U.S., where third-party logistics providers are driving same-day delivery in secondary markets.
As they were in the 1990s when global sourcing emerged center stage, the challenges are real for retailers looking to expand online sales fulfillment to the global arena. Then and now, the key for retailers is to retool their logistics strategy to maximize potential in today's global e-marketplace.
Craig Meyer is the president of industrial at Jones Lang LaSalle, a professional services and investment management company. Kris Bjorson is the head of retail e-commerce distribution at Jones Long LaSalle.