The Internet revolutionized how people form and foster relationships. For years, companies have sought to translate this unprecedented customer connectivity into business success.
Today, online and mobile commerce gives consumers the satisfaction of a quick and effortless shopping experience. In turn, this has transformed how companies manage their supply chains, since inventory availability and shipping times severely influence customer purchase decisions.
To remain relevant, companies must understand these trends and how they are impacting traditional supply chain solutions.
E-commerce, the process of buying or selling goods over the Internet, has altered how consumers shop1. Instead of traveling to stores, they are comfortable buying and receiving products in the comfort of their homes, despite additional shipping expenses.
In 1991, the National Science Foundation allowed commercial businesses to operate over the Internet for the first time2. Companies immediately incorporated the Internet into their business models and the e-commerce revolution began.
After the turn of the century, the trend briefly plateaued as ill-conceived supply chain models landed some companies in bankruptcy. As a result, manufacturers and retailers took a step back to address logistics, privacy protection and accessibility problems.
Today, e-commerce has grown into a giant income stream that is expected to generate more than $370 billion U.S. sales by 20173. U.S. consumers aren’t alone in embracing the ease and accessibility of e-commerce; China’s online retail market is expanding quickly due to more than 78 percent annual growth.
While commerce conducted through desktop computers remains the preeminent choice for online shopping, the use of mobile devices is the new frontier.