The retail sector – and the logistics companies that serve it – risk becoming involved “in a race to the bottom” as retailers struggle to satisfy the demands of online consumers for low priced goods, as well as cost-free and virtually immediate order fulfillment and returns.
That was the stark warning emerging from a high powered panel discussion at the UKWA National Conference, where representatives from retail giants John Lewis, Urban Outfitters, Dixons Carphone and Pentland Group considered the threats and challenges their organisations face in the digital age.
One member of the panel stated that, quite simply, the rise of e-Commerce has put many retail companies on “the road to less and less profit.”
Peter Ward, CEO of UKWA, commented: “There seems to be a realisation that for many retailers the current online order fulfillment model is not sustainable and some recalibration of consumer expectations is essential.
The retail sector’s ongoing need to service today’s technology-enabled consumer means that the logistics industry is under greater pressure than ever before to develop new working practices and adopt technology-led solutions that allow it to keep pace in the digital age.”
He warned delegates, “The fact is that any company choosing to ignore or failing to engage with the new world of logistics faces a very real risk of being left behind forever.”