E-commerce has the potential to offer SMEs and micro-enterprises almost instantaneous access to global markets and engage in commercial exchanges with a large number of customers and partners around the world.
On the other hand, the logistic services play a crucial role in the shipment of goods requested via Internet by consumers, who can also exercise their right of return using these same services.
A recent report published by the International Economic Forum examines the challenges that the international electronic commerce is posing to global logistics systems and their response to the growing demand for this type of exchanges. The document focuses on aspects related to the physical supply of goods purchased online.
E-commerce has transformed the commercial retail distribution. Outstanding players of the sector have had to restructure before the emergence of this new way of establishing commercial exchanges, which allows the consumer to access a store open 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year, with the possibility to compare products and prices and take the products you have selected and purchased to your own home.
The new business environment has brought with it an important transformation in the logistics transport sector. The distribution companies that have managed to be agile enough to adapt to these changes are the ones that have had the most success. In addition, new logistic services have emerged and others have been transformed. For example, traditional postal services have been transformed into commercial operators that work by taking advantage of e-commerce.
Although the large operators in the logistics sector have incorporated electronic commerce into their operations, they also need the collaboration of other smaller and less global operators at the local level to increase their capacity to reach more places.
For its part, local logistics operators have also emerged and have managed to snatch part of the package traffic to meet the specific needs of certain SMEs or small businesses, including storage and delivery services.
The expansion of international electronic commerce is shortening supply times, so that more and more services are offered to take goods to their destination on the same day or even in a couple of hours from the completion of the order. As a result, the logistics expectations of consumers have increased, demanding greater flexibility and supply options that are more adjusted to their lifestyle.
Technology is being used to optimize the logistics service, both on the side of suppliers and final receivers, although it is the large companies in the sector that invest the most in applying technological solutions due to the high costs involved. < / p>
Cross-border electronic commerce is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the digital economy. It is estimated that between 2017 and 2022 this type of exchanges will grow by 17%, compared to 12% of all electronic commerce. A DHL report suggests that cross-border e-commerce accounts for almost 15% of total sales of e-commerce, and that this percentage will increase to 22% by 2020.
A sample of the expansion of B2C e-commerce (business to consumer) is the increase by 73% of international package deals in the period between 2011-2015, according to data from the Universal Postal Union, a specialized agency of the United Nations which aims to strengthen the organization and improve postal services.
The characteristics of the best-selling products globally on the Internet are also changing. Along with fashion and electronic products, which are the most sold by this channel, other categories of products are reaching a greater market share, such as beauty and cosmetics products, pet products, food and beverages, pharmaceutics, articles for decoration and home or sports articles.
On the other hand, the increase in the trade of certain products, such as perishable items or medicines, requires a faster and more efficient international logistic service.
Despite the great opportunities offered by the international electronic commerce, SMEs face challenges related to customs costs or knowledge of tax or tariff requirements. In many cases, the costs of cross-border e-commerce operations depend on centralized warehouses located in different countries that minimize shipping costs and those derived from other logistics aspects.
E-commerce sales need systems that are often more complex and have to face operational and regulatory challenges that are different from those based on physical establishments.
Among them, those related to the environmental impact and the sustainability demands of transport in cities, the regulation of sporadic jobs (gig jobs), widely used in urban distribution, and their impact on costs, the preference of payments in cash versus electronic payments in some countries and the additional costs that this implies, and the management of the returns, that depending on each country and the type of product can make the added costs greater.
Another one of the challenges that the customs authorities have to face is the increasing volume of packages of small size and low value, which require different logistic capabilities. In addition, some commercial operators do not know well the rules and documentation required in the international exchange of goods and ignore the tax and tariff obligations to which their shipments are subject.
Source The entrepreneur