The shift to online shopping is accelerating all the time. We buy clothes, goods, home appliances, electronics and food more and more from online stores instead of brick-and-mortars. As digital consumers, we are used to an unlimited selection of products, the convenience of an online store and fast delivery. Our orders are delivered to us from all corners of the world.
E-commerce is also driving global logistics with an accelerating pace. Consumers around the world already buy almost 25% of their purchases from foreign online stores. Giants like Alibaba and Amazon have revolutionized retail especially in Asia and the United States. New retail innovations from drone home delivery to cashierless stores are developed as we speak.
Due to the shift to e-commerce, also Finnish retailers have to reconsider their logistics. What goods should be kept in physical stores or in stock, and which products should be in the direct delivery? And how can Finnish retailers even compete against the global giants?
"In today's retail business, consumer is king. Consumers want to buy the exact product they want, regardless of whether it is found in the brick-and-mortar store. That’s why expanding the product selection with online shopping is a key competitive factor for retailers," says Pasi Ketonen, Portfolio Manager of Posti's E-commerce Business Development.
Omnichannel strategy creates new opportunities for retailers, but it is also worthwhile rethinking the whole supply chain while at it. It is no longer advisable to keep large, expensive or logistically heavy products in the own stock. When speeding up inventory turnover and turning fixed costs into variable costs, competitiveness improves.
Pioneer solutions for omnichannel
What other means are there for Finnish retailers to drive e-commerce success? One good way is to increase the range of products through direct deliveries, says Pasi Ketonen.
"The product range of an online store can be expanded by integrating warehousing balances for suppliers and their own stores. It can easily be done through Posti's Direct Delivery solution," Ketonen says.
In Direct Delivery, Posti connects the product information of the goods’ manufacturers and wholesalers via GLUE cloud service directly to the online store. In its simplicity, it works like this: When an online store receives an order, Posti's system sends the information directly to the supplier. After that, Posti delivers the product directly to the consumer. This way, the online store’s product range can be grown without investing in a warehouse. Information flows are combined with the most comprehensive logistics in Finland – as Posti visits every Finn’s doorstep every day.
Online or brick-and-mortar? Choose both
There's been a buzz about the death of brick-and-mortars for a long time. Current trends, however, point to the other direction. Large e-commerce brands are now revitalizing physical stores with new, creative concepts, combining digital and physical store experiences.
The combination of digital and physical commerce can also increase the competitive advantage of Finnish retailers as well. One good improvement is to harness physical stores as an online shopping pickup points. Online order pickups increase the customer flow into the store and provide flexibility for handling e-commerce refunds, for instance.
Posti offers pioneering tools for managing online pickups as well. With pickup points and packet services included in Posti GLUE, brick-and-mortar stores can be linked to the delivery and return points of e-commerce deliveries.
"Pickup points are an essential part of omnichannel commerce, so that e-commerce and brick-and-mortars can be symbiotic," Ketonen says.
And above all, the digital consumer can remain a happy customer.
Posti offers premium digital logistics expertise for retailers across Finland. If you would like to hear more about our practical tools and solutions, get in touch!