One of the major trends we have seen across e-commerce over the past year is the ever-increasing popularity of fast and accurate same-day delivery, which will become the standard over the next few years. Customers will routinely demand it from online retailers across all segments, and what's more, they won't want to pay more for it than they are used to now with regular delivery. This trend requires the most efficient planning and maximum use of available resources. Fortunately, the logistics sector is becoming increasingly technologically advanced thanks to the ubiquitous influence of artificial intelligence, and the last year has brought some major shifts to meet shoppers' needs and wants. What trends are driving the logistics industry and what can we expect to see in the delivery segment in the coming years?
Even better planning with AI and the integration of alternative vehicles and trolleys Artificial intelligence was one of the main topics in 2023 and this trend has not escaped the logistics industry, where it is becoming an increasingly important element of the overall technology solution. For efficient logistics operations, the rise of AI and machine-learning is a major milestone, because with the help of advanced modelling it is becoming easier to efficiently allocate adequate numbers of vehicles and couriers for a given area and to plan routes to account not only for the current situation, but also for the development of the next hours and days. This contributes not only to greater availability for customers, but also to a more environmentally friendly and smoother urban traffic.
"Last year, we were able to launch an advanced AI Predictor, which is able to predict customer orders in a given area two weeks in advance based on data collected with the help of artificial intelligence, with accuracy down to specific hours and an error rate that consistently manages to stay below 10%. So we are no longer just planning for what's happening, but we can also operate according to what's yet to happen. The impact on efficiency and planning is huge for a company of our size," says DODO Group Commercial Director Peter Menky, adding: "The importance of advanced data analytics and working with future modelling will continue to grow and logistics companies will be able to make increasingly informed decisions, which will lead to, among other things, increased speed without visibly making the service substantially more expensive."
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is bringing new opportunities in alternative vehicle deployment. The ability to reliably predict the composition and location of orders in a specific urban area will allow a logistics company to deploy the right mix of transport vehicles at any given time - be it drones, robotic vehicles, cargo bikes, electric scooters or even river vessels. It is therefore to be expected that the limit for the deployment of alternative means of transport in the foreseeable future will no longer be legislation or the technology of the vehicles themselves, but rather the ability to allocate them in such a way as to achieve the desired effect in terms of cost and sustainability. As the complexity of goods and means of transport increases, so too will the complexity of delivery schemes, which will have to take into account the different carrying capacities of the vehicles, their battery range, their usability in the environment, etc.
Consolidation of demand and blurring of boundaries between logistics segments
Customer pressure for the best possible follow-up service is a clear trend across e-commerce. E-commerce customers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based not only on the price and parameters of the goods themselves, but also on the speed and quality of delivery. According to Behavio's survey data, 75% of respondents declare that speed of delivery is an important parameter for them when making a purchase decision. In addition, for almost a third of shoppers, the sustainability of the logistics itself is also crucial when making a purchasing decision. One of the ways in which the delivery of shipments in cities will be made faster and more efficient is through the concept of zonal logistics, which breaks down the boundaries between individual logistics operations and works on the principle of sharing vehicles and orders within a certain area.