The COVID-19 Pandemic was the Reset that E-Commerce Supply Chains Needed

By Matthew Chee | 17 Aug 2021

It takes a significant jolt to spur businesses and individuals away from their traditional ways of operating. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has provided society with that nudge, and it has changed e-commerce supply chains forever.

Coinciding with the shift to online purchasing at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, total online sales have averaged an annual rise of 67.1 percent from March to October 2020. To support this growth, Toll Global Express has integrated with Readytoship.com and Shippit.com, two of Australia’s e-commerce platforms that enable our customers to manage their shipping process through a single digital location.

The logistics and supply chain sectors are realising that the traditional models must evolve. COVID-19 has seen growth in the business-to-consumer market as both consumers and businesses adapt to new ways of accessing what they need. Supply chains are under tremendous stress, and carriers are stretched due to capacity issues, forcing retailers to pivot and reduce risks by turning to alternative suppliers for capacity support. This will be especially critical as we approach key e-commerce shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday later this year, as well as other seasonal spikes in volumes.

The retail sector, already challenged prior to the pandemic, needs to recognise that there is no going back to the more traditional over-the-counter models of shopping now that consumers have had a taste of the ease and broad choice enabled by online shopping. Claire Malcolmson, General Manager of E-Commerce at Toll Global Express said, “Our business-to-consumer solution looks to simplify e-commerce businesses’ supply chains by allowing businesses to offer consumers direct delivery to an address of their choice, collection points, and a simplified returns process.”

Through research across the retail sector, Power Retail has found that current suppliers are increasingly unable to keep pace with demand. Toll Global Express’ partnership with ShippIt and ReadyToShip is just another example of how the company is continuing to invest in the sector to further meet the evolving needs of our customers and the end consumer.” “We have a long history as one of Australia’s leading supply chain and logistics brands. Our extensive network, strong two-day delivery window, and continued investment in the sector provides consumers with increased options and a strong avenue for growth for the business” said Malcolmson.”

Research has determined that there are certain factors that are simply the minimum required to compete; providers need to have speed to market, a strong returns capability, regular communication, a wide choice of delivery options, and a broad selection of products.

Power Retail research shows that 7 percent of Australian online shoppers returned the last item that they purchased. Furthermore, 57 percent of Australian online shoppers return at least one item per year, and 25 percent return two items. “Returns are important and necessary in the e-commerce landscape,” said Malcolmson. “Returns should fit in as a component to your overall supply chain strategy. They are a necessary part of a complete end-to-end e-commerce offering and a necessity if businesses want to encourage loyalty and repeat customers. If the returns process is clear, user-friendly, and simple for the consumer, it will more likely lead to a positive customer experience.”

Never has the logistics and supply chain industry enjoyed such prominence and awareness. Consumers have largely been understanding of the disruption and challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has created for those in the delivery sector, however, there is a limit to that patience. While the pandemic provided a credible explanation for slow delivery or poor service levels, that excuse is increasingly losing credibility, particularly in Australia where the pandemic is largely seen as under control. 

With the rate of change and the enormous potential for growth in the e-commerce sector, consumers and businesses have the opportunity to re-evaluate their service providers. Leading brands in the space, such as Toll Global Express, continue to invest and improve their offering and present the solution to many delivery challenges.

Learn more about Toll Global Express’ offering here. 

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