The Evolution of Logistics from Direct-to-Store Model to E-Commerce

E-commerce logistics is the hottest big thing that can change logistics and physical distribution networks. Over the past 40 years, e-commerce logistics has grew extensively in developed economies.

From a distribution property perspective, this evolution has passed through various general phases, which can be seen in the infographic below:

evolution of logistics infographic

Just to elaborate on the above infographic,

  • In the 1970s, most retail stores were replenished by direct deliveries from suppliers or wholesalers
  • In the 1980s, retailers started to centralize their store deliveries through new distribution centres which they controlled
  • In the 1990s, global sourcing (for non-food products) took off, with many retailers developing import centres to receive and process mostly containerized imports
  • From around 2000, e-commerce began to rapidly expand with pure-play (internet only) retailers leading the way in establishing e-fulfilment distribution networks

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