The increasing popularity of omni-channel retailing has created many challenges for transportation and logistics providers servicing retailers. This has forced transportation operations to think outside of the box and make significant changes to their service offering portfolios. Omni-channel retailing has made fulfilling customer orders efficiently and cost effectively much more complex with a variety of new distribution strategies.

E-commerce orders grew 47% between 2009 and 2014 in comparison to only 6% at brick and mortar store locations. E-commerce sales are expected to reach $2.3 trillion by 2017. This shift in retail channel utilization has increased the order fulfillment needs and associated labor costs. Retailers are evaluating existing distribution networks to verify they can handle the added volume and are seeking out additional delivery solutions as a supplement. In many cases, these additions are in the form of local and regional distribution centers.

Rising shipping costs have also been a significant challenge for last mile delivery as they account for approximately 28% of total transportation costs. Shippers have many options for counteracting rising shipping costs including: intermodal freight utilization to link logistics clusters, shipment consolidation with crossdocking, primary delivery channel elimination and click-to-collect/ parcel locker centers to consolidate parcel drop-offs.

Governmental regulations have also created problems related to last mile logistics, both in the US and abroad. Regulations such as vehicle size and weight limitations, parking policies and noise restrictions. To avoid these issues some transportation operations are investing in smaller delivery vehicles for use in local regional delivery operations. These vehicles are typically more compliant with imposed noise and size restrictions. In areas where even these smaller vehicles are not an option some logistics providers have started to offer bike delivery and contracted one-time delivery services through businesses such as Uber.

Demand for up-to-date order information has also become an issue for many omni-channel retailers. Customers now want to know when their order has been accepted, processed, shipped and delivered. In order to provide this level of detail omni-channel supply chains are implementing inventory management software such as WMS with customer relationship management capabilities to provide real-time information to customers.

In order to provide a positive final impression on consumers retailers must focus on last mile logistics. Focusing on these potential solutions can help retailers to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and cost of last mile delivery operations. Learn more from Datex experts now at or .

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