Matthew Dunne

The momentum sparked by Covid-19 for e-commerce growth is showing no signs of slowing down. In Q4, 2021, Despatch Cloud helped its clients fulfil record volumes of parcels, with the like-for-like volume of deliveries across our customer base increasing by 17% in November, compared to the same period the year before.

Online retailers are becoming accustomed to handling yet larger volumes and clicking ‘buy it now’ is the established norm for the consumer. However, the speed at which e-commerce is developing is relentless and consumers are becoming increasingly demanding of more options for their deliveries. As we move further from the pandemic, customers are likely to be less patient and expectant of seamless service and delivery options to meet their exact needs. The logistics and warehousing industry needs to be prepared to meet these demands.

We are expecting to see increased sales through social media platforms in the 12 months ahead. Rumours continue to swirl around Meta (parent of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) and the potential ability to monetise the huge traffic volumes on social media apps into more value-added services. C-commerce (chat commerce), where you can ask to be shown items, which are then sent to your phone for you to browse, select and purchase, is predicted to break into Europe and the UK soon. The immediacy of these purchasing methods may translate into more demand for rapid deliveries.

Faster deliveries are already becoming the norm. With the swift emergence of same-day delivery companies, next-day, same-day, or even more rapid, delivery is becoming more of an expectation within bigger cities, which is having an impact on the location of new warehouses.

On the other hand, consumers are increasingly seeking to buy from smaller firms, with local and/or ethical connections. A study by Deloitte has shown that 32% of consumers are highly engaged with adopting a more sustainable lifestyle, and 28% of consumers have stopped buying certain products due to ethical or environmental concerns. These purchasing decisions will likely effect delivery choices, whereby retailers and logistics companies will need to offer transparency around their carbon footprint, as well as greater options, for delivery. This will enable consumers to select the speed and style of delivery that matches their lifestyle or environmental values.

The exceptional warehouse capacity needed to meet this e-commerce growth, and the requirement for faster delivery, is resulting in the creation of two kinds of warehouses - each designed to cater to the growing requirement for space and different needs of the industry. Mega warehouses are in high demands with significant numbers of construction projects planned in 2022. Meanwhile, there is an explosive growth in mini warehouses in central locations within cities, which facilitates the same day delivery of common items.

Matthew Dunne, founder and CTO, Despatch Cloud