Consumers challenge companies' logistics
Consumers want their everyday shopping to be easy and friction-free. Consequently, companies need to respond with user-oriented solutions for the whole process, from the shop to the consumer’s home.
Technology will drive economic growth, assist in elderly care, and accomplish many other good things. However, this strong belief in digitisation begins to waver when your elderly relatives do not know how to use their new TV, and you have trouble instructing them yourself. An unpleasant user experience is all too common.
“Hopefully, this is a transitional period after which user-orientation will be implemented in devices and everything will become easier”, says Tuuli Kaskinen, Operations Director at the Demos think tank.
A successful company considers user-orientation across the whole logistical chain, from the online services to the user’s home. Consumers want to view the products through a smoothly functioning online service. The purchasing transaction needs to be easy, whether it takes place online or at a bricks and mortar store. Of course, the purchased product also needs to be easy to use.
Rather large transformations may take place in this chain over the next few years, the strength and speed of which are difficult to estimate. Will 3D printing become common quickly? Will miniature helicopters make taking products home easier on a large scale? What kind of intermediary services will there be for products in the coming years?
“In the future, the big question will still be how the last kilometre of the transport will be handled”, Kaskinen says.
Old truths of logistics should be challenged
Companies should challenge their existing ideas of what the best solutions are, as future development is unpredictable. Many here would not forecast a great future for the Dabba Wallahelle courier service operating in Mumbai, India, which delivers about 200,000 lunches from suburban homes to workplaces and returns the empty dishes home at the end of the day. However, the system has worked successfully for years and attracted a lot of attention in international financial media channels.
In the era of the Internet, similar intermediary companies will step forward at an increasing rate. For example, with the ResQ application, consumers can order food from nearby restaurants that would otherwise be wasted. The service is available in four Finnish cities. Another example is Wolt, a service that can be used to order lunch from 400 restaurants in Helsinki, Tampere and Turku.
Distribution channels have become more diversified already, and new ones are expected to appear. Kaskinen believes that within the next few years, homes may have talking refrigerators that can order basic groceries automatically. The consumer’s task will be to fill in special requests on the order list.
“Consumers want to have easy solutions, and with digitalisation, shops will be able to offer them.”
Kaskinen believes that online shopping will become a standard solution that people will use to do business. However, new solutions will not inevitably put an end to bricks and mortar business, but consumers will be able to select from an increasing variety of solutions.
Digital logistics solutions also have strict requirements for data networks. Thanks to the new IPv6 standard, an unlimited number of new devices can be connected online. However, at the same time, it is important to ensure the customer-oriented development of information security for online services.