A new study predicts that the majority of retailers, suppliers and logistics firms will provide same-day delivery by 2023.
The study, carried out with Qualtrics, surveyed more than 2,700 professionals working in the transportation, logistics, retail and manufacturing industries on their omnichannel logistics plans, implementation levels, experiences and views in 2017.
The surveys were conducted in the US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Russia, Spain, China, India, Australia and New Zealand.
According to The Future of Fulfilment Vision Study commissioned by enterprise stock solutions business Zebra Technologies, 40% of retailers expect two-hour delivery to be the norm by 2028.
Zebra Technologies manufacturing and transportation and logistics global principal Jim Hilton said: “Driven by the always-connected, tech-savvy shopper, retailers, manufacturers and logistics companies are collaborating and swapping roles in uncharted ways to meet shoppers’ omnichannel product fulfilment and delivery expectations.”
“Zebra’s Future of Fulfilment Vision Study found that 89% of survey respondents agreed that e-commerce is driving the need for faster delivery. In response, companies are turning to digital technology and analytics to bring heightened automation, merchandise visibility and business intelligence to the supply chain to compete in the on-demand consumer economy.”
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The respondents predict innovations such as drones (39%), autonomous vehicles (38%), wearable and mobile technology (37%), robotics (37%) and crowdsourced delivery will be the most disruptive technologies.
According to the survey, 78% of logistics companies expect to provide same-day delivery by 2023, and 87% expect to be using crowdsourced delivery or a network of drivers that choose to take on their order.
Only 39% of the respondents said they were already operating at an omnichannel level, and one-third found reducing backorders was their biggest challenge to achieve omnichannel fulfilment, followed by inventory allocation and freight costs.
The survey found that 76% of the respondents said they use store inventory to fill online orders, and 86% plan to implement click and collect solutions by next year.
Some of the respondents said they are investing in retrofitting stores to double as online fulfilment centres while reducing selling space.
Managing product returns was a challenge for 87% of respondents, who agreed that the increase in free and fast product delivery has been met with an increase in product returns.
Respondents also agreed that more retailers will turn stores into fulfilment centres that accommodate product returns.
The survey found that more than 60% plan to offer free shipping, free returns or same-day shipping, while 39% expect to outsource returns management to a third party.
Around 55% of the organisations are using a manual pen-and-paper based process to enable omnichannel logistics despite 72% of organisations using barcodes.
By 2021, handheld mobile computers with barcode scanners are expected to be used by 94% of respondents for omnichannel logistics.
The use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and inventory management platforms are also expected to grow by 49% in the next few years.