Can shops provide logistics solutions in the face of the e-commerce explosion?

Mondial Relay has announced a partnership with Colis Privé, densifying its network of pickup points for parcels to deliver online purchases. There will now be a pick-up point within an average of 2.3 kilometres from the home or workplace of every single online shopper. The concept is that, if customers are not available when the Colis Privé courier visits the delivery address, they will have a ten-day period in which to retrieve their package from one of Mondial Relay’s 7,000 pick-up points. It should be noted that the French Post Office, La Poste and DHL are deploying solutions for rapid international delivery of small packages with the aim of providing a boost to small and medium-sized online merchants. This is further good news for the French e-commerce sector, coming hot on the heels of confirmed growth of 14% in the second quarter of 2018!

However, while the CEO of Mondial Relay confirmed last year that robots will not be able to replace physical points of contact (which may be contradicted by the progress achieved by major players such as Amazon and associated start-up companies), alternative solutions have been conceived and implemented. Here are two striking examples of the creativity that is propelling the logistics industry, changing the game in terms of customer experience:


Kaporal is transforming its shops into mini logistics centres to deal with the thorny problem of stock levels on the brand’s e-commerce site. Nicolas Ciccione, the e-business director of the Marseilles-based label, explains that

“Our focus is on building a multi-channel model,” and unified stock levels “will enable us to ensure that the right stock is available in the right place at the right time.” “We have to go and look for the product where it actually is,”

he added, justifying the transformation of shops into order fulfilment centres. The shop, which must be located near a suitably equipped post office, will need to prepare the web user’s order and ship it to optimise the delivery process. The problem of items going out of stock online significantly depressed the label’s revenue, frustrated customers and prevented products from achieving their true potential. Nicolas Ciccione confirms that the label’s winter 2017 sales provided proof that the model was viable, with recorded sales growth of 20%.


The delivery of “everyman”

Livingpackets offers an entirely different vision of the process, focusing on the collaborative economy. “We are faster than Amazon,” promises its young chief executive, Denis Mourrain! The concept is based on an “everyman” concept, whereby people routinely undertake journeys which, analysis confirms, are valuable in delivering packages. “Amateur deliverers” will retrieve a package, place it in a smart bag equipped with sensors in shop A and, once they have completed their usual journey, will drop it in shop B – the pick-up point for the delivery to the end customer. The process is secured by the use of sensors, which will track its progression in real time and will ensure that products contained in the bag can be geolocated, as well as maintaining the correct temperature and humidity and providing protection from bumps, with all of this data being useful in ensuring a properly performed final delivery.  This kind of delivery currently costs €18, with payments being split among the various people involved, from the start-up itself, retailers and e-commerce sites, not forgetting the delivery workers! This is an idea that adds value at every stage of the logistics chain, while using no additional resources over and above existing infrastructure, excluding the application that brings everything together.

The logistics industry is undergoing a complete cultural and technological revolution, and the future looks bright!


To read Also: Should e-commerce deliveries be taxed?