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Editorial: Add-on and adaptations are no longer enough in the brave new world


Last week we talked about the need for transformation. At no time before has there been more change and more potential for change in how and where goods ordered online are delivered.
The demands of customers are putting huge strain on retailers as they attempt to meet their shoppers’ desires with supply chain models that are often simply adapted versions of what they used in their solely bricks and mortars days.

But it’s a model that’s unsustainable. Pure plays and market disruptors have shown how it can be done and are changing the market faster than more traditional players can ever hope to keep up.

The need for lean, mean supply chains built specifically for – rather than simply adapted – the new shopping environment of today is key. Our interview with Simon Finch, distribution director at Harrods, is therefore a must-read.

Finch, who will be speaking at the eDelivery Expo (EDX) next month, promises an honest and frank inside view into the challenges involved as he and his business work to deliver a supply chain to cope with the needs of the business today and tomorrow.

One way of getting around the challenge of complex and expensive supply chains is through drop ship supply, argues Frank Poore, CEO and founder of CommerceHub. In his opinion piece this week he explains its benefits and why retailers who may have attempted it before need to look again. He argues that embracing drop shipping can also be transformative.

Innovation is key. One model that many are currently exploring is the role of in-car delivery. It’s a topic we have covered previously on and its value is still in doubt. Will customers trust carriers enough to have a stranger leaving a parcel in their car? Swiss retailer has announced a partnership with Swiss Post and Volvo to do just this, a move that follows similar work by Jaguar Land Rover and start-up toBoot. The company ran a feasibility trial with John Lewis last year and plans further testing this year.

Four wheels is an option but in city centres and the like the problems of congestion can mean that two wheels is a more viable route for delivery. This week we have seen DHL Express announce new pilots for City Hub, basically a trailer that can replace up to two standard delivery vehicles as well as saving carbon too.

Existing models are also evolving as the market changes. Tesco has this week announced the expansion of its same day click and collect service for grocery whilst Parcelforce Worldwide has announced it is to increase its capability in the larger item market. The company is attempting to take advantage of what it believes is an area of the market currently being ignored or sidelined by competing carriers.

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Thanks for reading and see you next week!

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