Not surprisingly, two of the key trends mentioned at the conference and by industry insiders were are the continued expansion of e-commerce and the rise of m-commerce (mobile commerce).
PARCEL Forum speaker Gerry Mercure of Dynamex told the overflow crowd at his session that e-commerce has been growing at 14 percent per year. He expects that trend to accelerate in 2017. “This segment is here to stay and it promises to be a bigger component of what we do,” he said. “It will cause a shift in the landscape of final mile.”
He pointed out that final mile was stable for many years because historically it was B2B. E-commerce has changed that. “E-commerce has shifted things. As a result, B2C is becoming a bigger component of what we do and that changes things,” he said. “In B2B it’s easy to identify who your customer is: the shipper. But, with B2C you have two customers: the shipper and the end user. It’s the consumers’ expectations that are dictating shippers’ requirements.
Consumers expect fast and free. With B2B, it’s relationship-focused. With B2C, it’s more about execution. To meet consumers’ expectations you have to execute consistently. With B2B, it’s more planned and logical. With B2C, the consumer’s decision is more emotional. It’s based on what they want. We think of this as consumer-driven logistics.”
He also talked about m-commerce, the mobile device version of e-commerce. “Mobile devices will be raising consumer expectations even higher,” he said. “M-commerce is what Millennials, especially, want to be able to do. They want to order something on their phones, get it from anywhere in the world and have it delivered wherever they are. Millennials value their time differently. They aren’t content to wait for a package at the office when they want to leave to make it to their son’s softball game. They expect to be able to change the destination of that package while it’s in transit so it meets them at the softball field. And they think they should be able to make that change in destination from their mobile devices.”