Prevalence of web could impact retail logistics

Widespread use of tablets, smartphones and internet connections has made it easier than ever for consumers to shop on multiple devices in virtually any location they choose. As this trend has become increasingly prevalent, retail stores are seeing less traffic and noticing they'll need to alter their procurement and shipping strategies to provide the online shopping and delivery services consumers are becoming accustomed to.

According to Illinois newspaper The News-Gazette, eBay CEO John Donahoe recently spoke at the University of Illinois, during which he addressed these concerns. The source reported he told an audience that consumers use the web for at lease some of their shopping experience in half of all retail transactions. While some may be conducting research, searching for better prices or reading reviews, others may end up purchasing the product on the web instead of ever going into a store. 

To still remain profitable, retailers need to embrace the web and use it to their advantage, even if it means changing up longstanding procurement and logistical processes. Because fewer consumers are shopping in-store, merchants may need to have their products shipped strategically-place warehouses, rather than individual stores, where they can be more easily shipped to customers across the country. This could force a firm to change suppliers, as with these logistical changes some shipping routes may become too expensive for retailers to justify. Merchants also need plans in place to address shipping to their consumers, whether they're sending out online purchases from store locations or larger warehouses. While some companies may find it cost effective to use other shipping services, some may discover that employing their own delivery fleet results in cost savings and enhanced customer service.  

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