Ecommerce returns putting pressure on transport and logistics industry

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A new study has found 86 percent of transport companies are struggling to keep up with demand for ecommerce returns.

The growing popularity of online retail, coupled with shopping trends introduced by the coronavirus pandemic, are placing Australia’s transporters under pressure.

‘Mobilising the Delivery Workforce: State of mobility in transportation and logistics 2021 report’ found 70 percent of transport and logistics (T&L) operators are exploring new ways of handling online shopping returns.

The report, by mobile and IoT management solutions provider SOTI, says 46 percent of Australian T&L businesses are planning to introduce new mobile systems to better manage their pipeline.

Other findings include:

  • 76 percent of T&L operators are working with retailers to improve the returns processes for their customers
  • 54 percent say mobile technology is crucial to increasing the speed of delivery for both orders and returns
  • 72 percent say their systems and technology are yet to be integrated, and
  • 50 percent agree that mobile technology designed to improve visibility, so customers can track orders and returns, will play a key role in ‘last mile’ delivery over the next five years.

Globally, 98 percent of respondents say that in a normal week they deal with technology or systems that delay shipments and 80 percent claim their organisation plans to invest considerably in new tech such as mobile devices, wearables and IoT devices and solutions in the next 18 months.

“The returns processes associated with ecommerce have always been one of the biggest changes faced by retailers and T&L operators in supporting the growing popularity of online shopping,” says Michael Dyson, APAC vice president of sales at SOTI. “The pandemic forced more people than ever before to shop online, and this has created a sudden and immense pressure on the Australian T&L industry to keep up with the greater demand for returns.”

Dyson is encouraged to see local operators “rising to this challenge” by employing new tech solutions and working closely with retailers and vendors – especially since the ecommerce space will only grow in popularity.

The authors of the ‘Mobilising the Delivery Workforce’ report conducted 550 interviews with workers in the T&L industries in Australia, the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany, Sweden and France.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

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