The Future of Delivery, Labor Shortages, and the New Brick and Mortar

Labor Shortages

Another year has come and gone.  At the beginning of 2018, we ran a blog that highlighted a few 2018 trends to keep an eye out for.  Some of those trends are still looming on the horizon and we, again, are predicting that they will make headway in 2019. Keeping with the annual tradition highlight trends – here are our top 2019 eCommerce trends:

The Future of Delivery

We are all aware of drone delivery.  Amazon Prime Air is making progress, and when the FAA gives their seal of approval – the Drones will be unleashed! Since we are all aware of this future delivery method, we decided to focus on some other upcoming companies that are creating new delivery trends sans FAA approval.Nimber provides a sustainable, cost-effective delivery solution to retailers and businesses in the UK.  Simply put-- it’s like Lyft or Uber for packages. The business model is pretty straightforward - a customer places an order with a retailer and the retailer utilizes spare capacity in Nimber’s ride to ship the product. The cost is considerably lower when “sharing” the ride. Retailers can then focus on Nimber’s value added final mile delivery solutions, which include in-home delivery, installation, and recycling. For retailers, this solution provides a lower end cost and a greater return on investment. From a customer service perspective, Nimber is a great concept and can ultimately create a very loyal customer base.Next, on our radar for 2019 is the Freight Pipeline. This concept is truly amazing from several aspects – by taking freight delivery underground, it can reduce transit time and traffic on roadways. One such Freight Pipeline solution is Mole Solutions. The MOLE Underground Freight Pipeline can move unitized or bulk goods in customized capsules travelling in dedicated sub-surface pipelines under fully automatic control. These pipelines can be adjacent to or under existing infrastructure.  The result is moving bulk or unitized product quickly and efficiently, while reducing the carbon footprint and easing traffic.

Labor Shortage

While not intending to directly address a completely different issue, Mole Solutions also alleviates the second item on our list of 2019 eCommerce trends – Labor Shortage. Labor shortage also appeared on the 2018 list and will be talked about for the foreseeable future. Specifically, the shortage of U.S. truck drivers is one that's already affecting eCommerce businesses. With low unemployment and an aging workforce, truck drivers are in high demand. Truck drivers are enjoying increased wages as businesses compete for their services.  In fact, analysts predict that the truck driver shortage will reach triple digits by 2026!While companies like Tesla, Ford, and GM are working on autonomous trucks to overcome this labor shortage, businesses are looking for immediate ways around these alarming delivery trends. Some businesses are utilizing the rail system as a backup plan, while others are continuing to split truck loads.These solutions may be able to help combat today’s labor shortage, however the shortage has yet to peak and businesses must continue in the search for innovative labor solutions in order to combat these delivery trends in 2019.

The New Brick and Mortar

Do you remember when brick and mortar stores were all doomed? At one point, it seemed that shopping malls were dying and, as more and more retail businesses folded, online shopping was the only bright spot.Well, while the traditional shopping mall has yet to make its big comeback, the brick and mortar store is definitely on the rise.Let’s look at Fabletics, an athleisure company that started in 2013 by Kate Hudson. This online subscription retailer now has 25 stores in the USA. Fabletics isn’t the only brand that has moved to brick and mortar stores. After enjoying years of success online, the demand for small, local retail shops is helping the once-doomed shopping mall.The online giant Amazon now has 4-Star Merchandise Stores, Book Stores (sorry Barnes and Noble), and Pop-Ups. Each one of these Amazon stores focuses on consumer demand in very specific locations for a variety of needs. The 4-Star Stores sell only customer favorites based on 4+ star reviews. These stores are “designed around our customers.”  The Pop-Up stores are similar to kiosks within a store where customers can purchase Amazon devices like the Amazon Fire.  Amazon Books “integrates offline shopping with the benefits of the community.”We look forward to seeing some of these trends come to fruition – especially the underground freight pipeline – if only because rush-hour traffic might actually be reduced to only an hour!  2019 is full of promise and innovation.  We can’t wait to see how these three 2019 eCommerce trends unfold throughout the year. And be sure to check out our Webinar on current eCommerce trends to stay ahead of the curve!