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4th Quarter Commerce Trends

The economy changes each quarter, and with the growth of e-commerce, it is beginning to change more rapidly than it has before. Take a look at some recent commerce trends and how they impact trucking and supply chain distribution.

Commerce and the fluctuation within business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) sales each month affects the distribution networks. As a general trend, commerce picks up during the fourth quarter as people begin to gear up for the holidays and spend more money.

Over the past nine years, there has been a continual increase in retail commerce sales, peaking during the fourth quarter each year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce report for 2015. The report also points out the second quarter of 2015, e-commerce sales accounted for 7.2 percent of total sales, compared to 6.3 percent from the second quarter of 2014.

The ongoing increase in e-commerce is continuing to make a large impact on distribution and third-party logistics providers (3PL). Retailers are beginning to rely on multi-channel approaches to transport products, which is causing retailers to rely on 3PL providers and distribution networks more often. Multi-channel strategies are becoming more popular because they help to meet the demand of increased sales from e-commerce.

As the e-commerce trend grows, 3PL providers will need to offer many different ways to transport the retailers’ products, including truckload, less-than-truckload (LTL) and intermodal options.

The changes with e-commerce have affected the way companies organize supply chains. It has changed the timing, technology and pricing for B2B and B2C commerce. Additionally, with e-commerce consumers have access to stores 24/7, which has changed the demand patterns. Sales transactions are speeding up due to e-commerce, affecting supply chains. A quicker response to sales transactions can also have an impact on the supply chain in many ways, including large contractions or expansions in orders, production, shipments and inventory, according to Supply Chain Quarterly.

Supply chain managers need to continue to develop strategies to accommodate the changes within e-commerce and retail trends throughout the quarters.

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