Sunday December 13, 2020 |Future of ecommerce

There will be delays

Digital environments are extremely busy, with shopping and socializing pushed online to a greater degree. The Bay Area received heavy rain, joining much of the rest of the country in going through a prime shopping weekend with shops much quieter than a year ago.

Digital commerce is surging by all accounts and metrics. Products are sold out and nearly all sites are warning of shopping delays. Shipping carriers have warned of delays, recognizing this will be an onslaught of volume unlike the residential delivery industry has ever seen. With many working at home and work environments limited, there are few shipments conveniently going to commercial address, putting further strain on residential delivery.

Delivery van are everywhere in residential neighborhoods. Marked with Amazon, Fedex, Thrifty, and various third party delivery and rental company names, the vans show a sign of the future of ecommerce. Despite all the advancements in ecommerce, delivery still relies upon real people driving around with packages and attempting to make the delivery as quickly as possible.

It's an inelegant final step, or 'last-mile', and shows the limits. There will be delays because the supply chain systems are being tested like never before, and because it's not an instantly scalable system. The last mile needs a better solution to deal with these surges in the future.

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