E-Commerce Consumer Habits
E-commerce has revolutionized consumer habits. Years ago I use to travel to the mall to try on shoes. Now I order loafers by the dozen. I try them all on and return the ones that do not fit. I demand that they come the next day so I can wear them to my friend’s wedding. Wash, rinse, repeat for all my online purchases. Instead of trekking 30 to 60 minutes to a local specialty store, I can read an endless supply of reviews online letting me know what is the best value for my dollar. I can then order the product and know what to expect thanks to a couple of helpful and like-minded consumers. The benefits and perks are too good as a consumer. Never has it been easier to get the products you want as quickly you want them. E-commerce success stems from the innovative problem solving skills of freight forwarders and logistic providers. The reason many people like shopping online is because of how quickly products arrive at their doorsteps. Immediacy is what keeps people coming back, and word of mouth travels fast when a consumer is happy.
Business-to-business air shipments have been commonplace for years. However, with the change in consumer habits, business-to-consumer air shipments are becoming more commonplace. E-commerce truly encourages international trade. The main benefit of air freight is speed. If you want a product now, just like I wanted my loafers for my friend’s wedding, you can get it now. The biggest detractor for air freight is the cost. I will be able to get those loafers in 48 hours, but it will cost me an extra few pennies.
Let’s say my friend’s wedding is not until next summer. Now I have some time to breathe. I look around for some shoes, but the best loafer is still overseas. I can still get the loafer’s but I will have to wait a few weeks. Ocean freight still allows for international purchases, you are just going to have to wait a little bit longer for your international selection.
With e-commerce a heavy majority of shipments are still delivered by truck. What is worrisome for the ground freight industry is the supply of trucks and drivers. The increase in consumers wanting instant delivery on e-commerce shipments has caused a surge in demand. Supply is having a tough time keeping up. Because the demand for delivery has increased faster than supply can maintain, there is a major shortage of drivers on the horizon. The shortage of drivers will cause an increase in ground freight costs.
The trade-off between rail freight and ground freight is the same as the trade-off between air freight and ocean freight. Rail is less expensive than ground, but it will take longer for your goods to arrive by rail than it will take to arrive by ground. The motto in logistics is know before you go. As an e-commerce seller or consumer it is important to know all of the costs associated with your shipments, as well as the time it will take for your shipment to arrive.