The global shipping industry has been impacted by numerous challenges in the past several years. From the Covid-19 pandemic to international conflicts, retailers that rely on e-commerce fulfillment partners had many logistical nightmares to navigate.
While it is true that 2022 had its fair share of problems, 2023 will bring its own set of shipping and logistics challenges, opportunities, and uncertainties.
So, as an e-commerce business, you should start priming your operations and optimizing your strategy so you can thrive through any changes coming your way.
Here are the top ten logistics and global shipping trends for 2023.
Further Growth in E-commerce Sales
Global e-commerce sales are set to grow from $5,717 billion in 2022 to $6,310 billion in 2023, according to Statista. This will, in turn, raise the demand for order fulfillment companies which might attract more players to the market.
As a retailer, you must remain vigilant and carefully vet new companies to ensure they can meet your order fulfillment needs.
Outsourcing Order Fulfillment Will Increase in Popularity
More businesses recognize the benefits of outsourcing certain operations to take advantage of greater efficiencies and cost savings. This trend is set to prevail in 2023 as more retailers look for better ways to streamline their operations.
Flexibility will be crucial, and outsourcing fulfillment makes sound financial sense. A skilled logistics and fulfillment partner will lower your costs. Having your goods sent to a fulfillment center may also help you save money on storage, human resources, commercial rent, packaging solutions, and carrier charges
AI-Driven Order Fulfillment Will Become Commonplace
There are numerous ways that AI may help a business with several retail locations and logistics hubs. With the help of AI, it is possible to examine each order and determine which available stock item can fulfill it most efficiently and at the lowest cost.
As your orders and stores increase, artificial intelligence can assist you in arranging your stock data. For instance, AI can also sift through the available options and give you information to help you make decisions based on your preferences.
In 2023, AI will enable businesses to manage goals such as capacity, and shipping costs, avoiding markdowns and stockouts, optimizing fulfillment plans at the lowest possible cost-to-serve, and reducing processing expenses.
Better Control of the Entire Supply Chain
Almost one-third (30%) of industrial, wholesale, and retail firms experienced worldwide supply chain disruption during Covid. However, in 2023, it is unlikely that severe global shipping disruptions will occur again since shipment and order fulfillment firms have learned from their experiences.
With increased awareness about supply chain disruption, companies will be better equipped to offer a full-service transportation solution. Several businesses impacted by this kind of disruption have purchased port terminals, warehouses, and freight forwarding services to have more control over their operations and supply chain.
Despite Disruptions, Consumer Expectations Are Growing
Most customers (62%) who choose free delivery expect to receive their order in less than three business days. In turn, retailers in the post-pandemic era face new and old shipping issues as they attempt to fulfill customer orders, suggesting that e-commerce enterprises must discover methods to meet increasing demands for quick delivery.
To streamline your shipping processes, consider options like merging shipments into fewer but larger ones and preparing ahead to avoid high storage costs.
Concerns Over World’s Ports and Container Handling
Bloomberg reported that more than three-quarters of the world’s ports are dealing with long turnaround times in 2021. Compared to the average four-day delay for a late container ship in January 2019, the average wait for a ship in February 2022 was more than a week, with only about 34% of all containers arriving on time.
However, things may be changing, at least with goods from China, as a representative from Shanghai Ocean Shipping Agency stated that the Pandemic-induced shipping prices would never return.
“The high shipping rates arising from the disruption in supply and demand created by the pandemic will never come back.”
Amazon Prime Will Be the Shipping Industry Benchmark
Amazon Prime is part of why e-commerce growth does not stop. Consumers now expect expedited shipping without paying additional fees.
Statistically, over 75% of U.S. consumers are currently members of at least one of the three most extensive retail membership programs: Amazon Prime, Walmart Plus, or Target Redcard. This shipping trend will continue into the future, meaning that less flexible retailers that charge extra for rapid delivery will lose customers to their competitors.
Buyers Will Want Greater Clarity Regarding Shipping Delays
As previously said, shoppers desire rapid shipping; nevertheless, in 2023, they will be particularly frustrated by a lack of clear communication regarding shipping delays.
If you know, it will take 15 days to ship a particular item, be upfront and tell your customer this early on – not at the checkout. Studies show that 32% of consumers abandon their carts because of lengthy delays in shipping their chosen products.
Many e-retailers that encounter certain issues in their supply chains try to hide them, failing to communicate new expected delivery times. Buyers will not tolerate such behavior, ultimately choosing brands with open communications about potential delays.
Labor Shortages Will Persist
Another prominent global shipping trend for 2023 is the labor shortages in order fulfillment and maritime sectors. Bloomberg revealed that the seafarer shortage will continue worsening because, since Covid, fewer people are now interested in working on large vessels.
Likewise, recruiting warehouse workers and drivers will become increasingly harder, creating additional pressure on supply chains and causing further delays.
Enhanced Digitalization and Data Utilization
Shipping increasingly relies on intelligent data leveraging and digitalization. In 2023, this shipping trend is expected to have the most staying power as more businesses realize the power of big data. Data analytics and the newest technologies enable companies to achieve a more efficient supply chain
Observing these logistics and shipping trends in 2023 will help you prepare for the challenges ahead of you. But, if you are busy running your e-commerce business, you might want to entrust order fulfillment to professionals who can handle the entire process on behalf of your company.
At PhaseV, we strive to provide the best order fulfillment solutions to ambitious e-commerce businesses. Whether you run an e-commerce company, a subscription box business, or require a reliable partner to deal with pick-and-pack services or customer returns – we’ve got you covered!
Contact us to create a tailor-made fulfillment plan to suit your business requirements and delight your customers.