December 22, 2015
Posted by Alicia Baumann

As the year comes to a close we’d like to recap the biggest shipping trends of 2015.

The 12 Shipping Trends of 2015

  1. Technology disrupting the supply chain. Both retailers and consumers are the beneficiaries of this disruption, which includes logistics automation. This trend will continue to be one of the biggest shipping trends of 2016.
  2. Massive mergers and acquisitions of major players in the logistics industry. One of the biggest acquisitions of 2015 was the XPO Logistics deal for Con-way. Alongside this trend comes concerns about market consolidation. As Jeremy Bodenhamer, CEO and Co-Founder of ShipHawk, said in The Wall Street Journa, “In certain markets where they have better coverage, and better control, and there’s capacity shortages, you’ll start seeing prices rise. . . And where they need to compete, you may see prices drop to the point where it negatively affects [other] players that can’t afford to operate.”
  3. Finding more sustainable, eco-friendly shipping options. "Better, more sustainable solutions to our current shipping conundrums will mean happier customers and better bottom lines for eCommerce sites but also a more environmentally friendly delivery—a factor which is unfortunately so often overlooked,” CEO, Jeremy Bodenhamer said to The Green Economy.
  4. Exploring the usage of drones to deliver your online purchases. Major retailers, such as Amazon, are proposing the use of drones to deliver products to customers. However, drones may be more useful in warehouse settings instead of delivering to customers due to the high-risk ramifications of shifting towards customer drone delivery.
  5. Online retailers optimizing shipping to compete with Amazon. Brick-and-mortar locations may have the best opportunity to to compete with Amazon due to their omnichannel nature. As Jeremy Bodenhamer says in his featured article on Venture Beat, “Rumors are flying that Amazon is looking to expand into brick and mortar locations, maybe even buy Radio Shack locations or a chain of gas stations. Why? Now that Amazon has raised our expectations for super-fast delivery, it’s going to need local warehouses nationwide to deliver on these “on-demand” promises."
  6. Consumers demanding free returns from online retailers. Free returns have become a normal part of the eCommerce experience for many online shoppers. According to a study from UPS and comScore 66% of shoppers want free returns and expect returns to be a hassle-free process.
  7. Online retailers looking at viable options for offering same-day delivery to meet customer demand. Retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, and Etsy are beta testing same-day delivery methods to their customers in major metropolitan markets. Technology companies such as Deliv, UberRUSH, Sidecar, and Postmates are partnering with retailers to meet these customer demands for nearly instant delivery.
  8. Smaller-scale retailers in both the B2B and B2C marketplaces adapting and accepting the need for a diverse inventory to accommodate consumers’ increasing demands for variety from their online store.
  9. Using shipping bonuses and membership programs as a competitive advantage. Large retailers, such as Walmart and Sephora, have adopted the membership program model. In order to keep up smaller sellers need to distinguish their businesses in different ways—better and more specific services, tailored to customers and local markets, or using social media to enhance the customer experience.
  10. Meeting higher customer expectations for shipping, including faster and more transparent fulfillment processes. The eCommerce ecosystem has responded with a range of diverse shipping options, from locker-box pickup and services like FedEx Location, to on-demand delivery services, which allows smaller companies to remain competitive in the online marketplace.
  11. Online stores are streamlining the fulfillment process by utilizing multiple kinds of carriers, including parcel, freight, and specialty, to ensure customer satisfaction. This is just another example of the major shipping trends that lead back to the overall eCommerce fulfillment experience for online shoppers.
  12. The holiday season continues to be the happiest time of year for online retailers. This type of eCommerce growth has generated huge profits for parcel shipping companies and omnichannel retailers alike.

We’re looking forward to 2016 being full of diverse and innovative shipping trends that will continue to transform the eCommerce industry!

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