The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly redefined what it means to be a consumer in this age and time. Due to the fear of catching the airborne virus, many have taken to the internet to purchase their necessities. In fact, experts believe that spendings in the ecommerce space is projected to reach 4.2 trillion by 2025. Inadvertently, the rise in ecommerce has also caused the demand for logistics services to soar tremendously. As a whole, both the ecommerce and logistics are expanding quickly, but they are also evolving at a rapid pace.
While it is difficult to say what the future holds for both landscapes, here’s what we foresee will happen to the industry in the near future.
As we work collectively to eliminate the use of physical labor in warehouses and replace them with robotics, it is only natural for us to see an increase in the use of robotics. Using robotics frees the staff from the need to maintain the warehouse, allowing them to focus on the strategic aspect of the business to promote growth. Today, machineries such as forklifts, pallet trucks, hand trucks and carts are a common face in a warehouse. In the next decade or so however, we think that the likes of robotic arms, co-bots, mobile rack goods-to-person (GTP), autonomous mobile robots (AMR) will all but be left out of the game.
Meanwhile, when it comes to non-conventional transportation, big names such as Amazon have been actively testing the use of drones to complete domestic deliveries. Uber, on the other hand, has been experimenting with self-driving cars to determine if it can be used to complete long-distance deliveries.
Omnichannel shopping is already happening. In fact, more and more businesses are gradually integrating all their physical and online channels to create a seamless and holistic experience, which is what omnichannel is all about. Omnichannels are costly to implement but when done correctly, studies have shown that they can drive up to 80% of a store’s physical sales, and that’s not including online sales itself yet.
Of all the changes that we’ve named on this list, we think augmented reality (AR) might be the last thing to happen, simply because the world hasn’t reached a point where AI bots are capable of interacting with humans to perfection. That said, we think it’s only a matter of time before shops move to augmented reality to make online shopping convenient. In fact, some businesses are using AI bots to answer some of the more basic questions online, before relaying the questions to live chat services to handle if it gets overbearing. Put simply, technology is and always will be the future.
B2B businesses are next on the horizon to go online. Most B2B businesses are beginning to rethink and reinvent their online presence and hope to understand their customer base better. As the transition to ecommerce happens, we’ll gradually see more businesses innovate on their marketing and development, improve their customer experience and learn how to craft a narrative that would fit their online presence.
Dynamic pricing is when systems adjust the price of goods and services to accurately meet the customers’ demands. While dynamic pricing isn’t exactly a thing of the future, many businesses have begun incorporating dynamic pricing to give themselves a competitive edge in marketplaces. More importantly, dynamic pricing has been shown to lead to an increase in sales.
It’s happening already, even right here in Malaysia. Various ecommerce sites have been offering alternative payment methods including TnG Wallet and Alipay to name a few. Elsewhere, many stores are now offering buyers the option to pay via paypal. Some are beginning to consider the option of cryptocurrency, though those who have successfully implemented are few and in between.