Digital shopping meets digital freight

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The convenience of online shopping has pushed some traditional retailing establishments to close underperforming stores, CapitalIdeas.com reports. With most consumers taking advantage of the option to buy online instead of driving to the nearest Walmart or Home Depot, stores are suffering. This is hardly news to anyone who follows the American economy.

The Capital Ideas report noted that consumers are becoming good at reading the fine regarding charges on purchases. And since it’s an online purchase, most “netizens” (online jargon for “internet citizens”) are willing to pay for the shipping and handling. The box, the bubble wrap, the guarantee and the receipt (with the latter two often found in the same piece of paper in the package) are signs that the product was shipped from the manufacturer straight to the consumer. 

Consumers also are starting to demand no hastle return policies in their online purchases. In Europe, online retailers are required by law to honor returns with full refunds. While the US does not have this policy today, you can expect market pressures created by consumer-friendly companies like Amazon will force other online retailers to adopt similar policies. 

Earlier this month, Amazon issued a policy for its marketplace retailers that any consumer requested returns would be automatically honored and changed the process of requiring consumers to request permission to return goods before sending back. With Amazon controlling nearly half of all ecommerce business and a significant of that coming from third-party resellers, this change will will have profound impacts on the way consumers think of online shopping. 

Capital Ideas mentioned how the impact is not being felt evenly across the retailing sector. While most retailers have felt the brunt of lower sales, “deep discounters” like T.J. Maxx and Dollar General haven’t been affected as much.

With purchasing habits becoming based more on discounts and promos, it becomes less about brand loyalty and more about the benefits earned from digital purchases. All that is left is for shipping companies to provide app-assisted delivery.

The shift to online purchasing has meant more physical shipments to move. The logistics of moving more goods in smaller quantities, though, has lent itself to more technological advancements, namely the digitization of trucking.

The “uberization of trucking” was happening long before Uber Freight entered the marketplace.

For wholesalers, the option to pick their own shipper gave rise to digital freight brokers. It has become a profitable way to move cargo and is seen as an effort to have no middleman in transactions to maximize profit opportunities.

Cerasis summed up what could be the best line to fit the shift of retailing online - a demand that occurs in real time that needed to be met, also in real time. Digital freight brokers have also catered to the need to beat delivery deadlines in the same vein that corporate executives without much time to hail a cab would contact Uber for a quick ride. In short, money is not a problem. Time is. The demand never waned. Everyone just needs a way to beat the clock.

Amazon’s rumored efforts to provide a worth competition to other digital freight brokers is enough to shake up the freight brokerage industry all over again. It might be an effort to counteract President Donald J. Trump’s tweet on how the online retailing behemoth is “doing great damage to tax paying retailers” resulting in “many jobs being lost.” But once Amazon enters the digital app space, it may put the free market on steroids.