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Logistics can help e-tailers boost their business, says UPS

Zafirah Salim | June 17, 2015
With greater focus on the customer experience through improving delivery processes, e-tailers can ‘break through’ the low satisfaction rates of Asian online shoppers, said Rob Houck, Vice President of Marketing at UPS Asia.

A recent UPS e-commerce survey, "Pulse of the Online Shopper" found that Asia has the lowest satisfaction in online shopping as well as the least patient customers across the world. Personalised options, free shipment and hassle-free returns are three key areas that could help e-tailers to turn the last mile delivery to competitive edge and logistics play a crucial role in helping online companies to achieve success.

In this interview, Rob Houck, Vice President of Marketing at UPS Asia, shares how e-commerce has impacted the logistics market; and how it plays an integral role along the path to purchase. In addition, Houck also shares how UPS works on overcoming customer pain points, such as the 'last mile' problem, costly shipping and late delivery.

Can you describe the logistics landscape in Asia, particularly in Singapore; and how does it differ globally?  

Over the past decade, Asia's robust outlook has helped to attract a great deal of investment from both regional and global sources. This has contributed to growth in trade, paving opportunities and increasing demand for logistics in an emerging Asia. According to a study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Asia's share of global GDP is forecast to reach 38.9% by 2016, compared to 33.0% in 2010.

As one of the strongest economies in the region, Singapore's strategic location as the world's major shipping lane has long made it an important global logistics hub for trade. According to Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry, the transport and logistics industry contributes about 8% of Singapore's GDP or S$12.4 billion, making the second smallest nation in Asia the heartbeat of the region's import and export landscape.

The strong growth of Asia's emerging economies will help to boost the intra-regional movement of goods. Fast overtaking the traditional flows of Asia-European or Asia-US trade, intra-Asia trade now accounts for 25% of Asia's total of US$6 trillion in annual exports - a number that is expected to increase.

How has the growing e-commerce landscape influenced the logistics industry?

Our research into e-commerce preferences of consumers and the integrated buying experience of shopping in physical stores and online supports found that consumers value true omni-channel retailing and expect a consistent and positive experience across all channels from online, digital, and mobile to in-store; particularly in Asia where m-commerce is stronger than in other markets.

One of the key contributing factors to a consumer's positive experience is convenience. In a digital marketplace, shoppers' desire for greater control extends from pre-purchase to post-sales processes. The emergence of e-commerce and shift towards omni-channel has pushed retailers to shorten their product cycles, increase their number of products and seasons per year, as well as to adopt end-consumer focused supply chain solutions in order to deliver their products swiftly to consumers.


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