SEKO opens shop to e-tail forwarding

LIKE mid-sized forwarders, bricks-and-mortar retailers have been the subject of a host of obituaries, whose authors predict a world dominated by on-line ‘virtual’ shopping.
In these prophecies of doom, physical high-street stores seem to exist solely so that consumers can personally check out the products – and then order them from an e-tailer from their mobile devices after they have stepped out of the shop.
David Emerson, group sales and marketing director at forwarder SEKO Logistics, does not share this view. “The shops will never go away,” he declares.
If anything, having at least one physical outlet appeals to a growing number of e-tailers.
Operators in the fashion space have been setting up flagship stores where customers can inspect their products before ordering them on-line, points out Chris Matthews, vice-president of operations of forwarder Bellville Rodair International.
It would be fatal for forwarders to conclude from this that they just have to concentrate on the supply chain solutions for bricks-and-mortar stores and leave the delivery of individual items to consumers to the integrators, local parcels firms and postal service providers.
SEKO’s management certainly does not take such a view. Last September it unveiled SEKO Omni-Channel Logistics, an integrated e-commerce and logistics division that aims to give clients a single source for global fulfilment, delivery management, returns solutions and e-commerce development and design.
At this point, the majority of forwarders do not even have a strategy to deal with e-tailers. Many seem not to have bothered taking a closer look at this segment altogether, dismissing it as a sector that favours integrators and postal services.
Others are put off by lack of size. “Most of our competitors were not in this space,” reveals Emerson. “Global logistics companies are not interested in the SME e-commerce market. Some clients spend US$100,000 to $200,000 a year on us. For the large multinational logistics players, that is too little to be of interest.”
Read Ian Putzger’s full piece in Air Cargo News  7April 2014 – Issue No. 774

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