-Claire Vanthof-

E-commerce has emerged as part of a company’s marketing program. Achieving success requires not only a lean supply chain, but also a strategy to get there. Many e-commerce companies sell a variety of products, and each type of product establishes different strategic needs.

E-commerce has evolved into a combination of retail and industrial product types and industries, as well as Internet technology and devices, the transportation and logistics sectors, and inventory tracking and fulfillment systems. As a result, e-commerce requires strategies that address the following major elements:

The internet and mobile devices: the platform where sales happen is moving from personal computers to mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones (also called m-commerce).

Omni-channel retailing: this process integrates brick and mortar, TV, catalog, social media, e-commerce and m-commerce channels both for purchases and for returns

Changing supply chains: In retail, inventory must become more transparent to create efficiencies in new supply chains with direct-to-consumer shipments from online orders.

– Distribution and fulfillment centers: In the world of e-commerce, companies design and build fulfillment centers to satisfy online orders. E-ecommerce orders typically are smaller than those for traditional brick-and-mortar distribution centers, and often require one-day fulfillment.

– Automated inventory systems: Beyond the increased current use of RFID, barcode readers and handheld mobile computers, e-commerce requires companies to plan for the design and implementation of robotic systems in their fulfillment centers and supply chains. These systems can range from the use of automated guide vehicles and robots to the future use of drones for delivery.

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