DHL eCommerce Solutions, a division of logistics company, Deutsche Post DHL Group has launched the 2021 E-tailers’ Almanac. The E-tailers’ Almanac aims to help online merchants plan their shipments and identify overarching trends and current factors that impact the eCommerce sector in the US The four overarching themes are based on DHL eCommerce Solutions US customer feedback and post-COVID lightweight parcel industry developments.
The Four Market Trends
Multi-carrier approach a must: As outlined in the 2020 E-tailers’ Almanac, the multi-carrier approach is gaining popularity, but more so after the COVID-19 pandemic. During 2020, a few online merchants found themselves without a logistics partner. Some logistics operators could not take on excess volume due to capacity constraints in their network, and many placed caps on volume and added surcharges. Logistics operators’ volume caps and surcharges are expected to remain throughout the year. With a multi-carrier approach and an established shipping strategy before the second half of the year, online merchants can better mitigate unexpected interruptions and shifts in market conditions.
Capacity constraints continue: Capacity was a topic of concern for logistics operators in 2020, and it should be a topic on e-tailers’ radars this year. Due to the expected continuation of business-to-consumer (B2C) growth, the capacity crunch of 2020 is anticipated to remain in 2021 and it is unlikely for logistics operators to have extra secured space in the fourth quarter of the year. Thus, in 2021, we may see online shippers take a different approach by paying a premium to secure peak holiday season capacity.
Cybersecurity and data privacy concerns increase: As per the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2021, cyber risks continue ranking among global risks. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed many online merchants’ supply chain vulnerabilities and online security shortcomings. For brick-and-mortar stores with an online presence, the speed to advance or accelerate their digital transformation meant many had to invest in real-time cyber threat intelligence with centralized monitoring and risk analysis. The most agile and resilient merchants are also employing unconventional tactics to identify their company’s vulnerabilities through Bounty programs. The programs invite white-hat hackers and security researchers to test their systems’ security. In light of increasing data breaches and security threats, e-tailers must implement tighter security measures and controls to ensure an optimal safe online shopping experience.
The reinvention of brick-and-mortar: With brick-and-mortar retail stores shut down due to stay-at-home orders at the beginning of the pandemic, many shifted their fulfillment strategies. For some, this meant a permanent shift to a “dark store” model, in which traditional retail stores are converted to local fulfillment centers. These dark stores provide customers the option for pickup or delivery while reducing the strain on retailers’ main fulfillment hubs. With the advent of buy online and pick up in-store, parcel locker footprint and technology are growing worldwide. For e-tailers, parcel lockers get products into consumers’ hands at a reduced cost, conveniently and securely.
DHL E-Tailers’ Almanac
With an expected increase in early promotion periods throughout the year, the E-tailers’ Almanac offers new and experienced online merchants a calendar of the most important 2021 eCommerce dates to consider when planning their promotions and shipments.
“In 2020, by working closely with our customers and expanding our forecasting processes, at DHL eCommerce Solutions, we successfully navigated the pandemic and helped our customers plan better to overcome future hurdles. Our E-tailers’ Almanac is one way we can help guide e-tailers by sharing industry developments and assist them in building a more resilient supply chain in the future.”Lee Spratt, CEO, DHL eCommerce Solutions, Americas
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