2024’s Top Ecommerce & Logistics Predictions for Growth

Ecommerce logistics

The past few years have brought enormous, foundational changes to the ecommerce and logistics landscapes. As we look forward to 2024 and beyond, we get a lot of questions from our clients about what to expect with new logistics trends, how to prepare for an ever-evolving ecommerce space, and how to be sure that they remain flexible to sudden changes. 

EcommOps is always looking at potential trends, changes, and thinking about how new technology or culture shifts impact ecommerce. Below, we have a list of our most impactful logistics predictions for 2024, ranging from logistics changes, the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI), specifically large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT, and more. 

Impact of AI on Ecommerce

impact of AI artificial intelligence on ecommerce

AI made a huge splash on all kinds of industries, and we expect big things from the application of AI to start being more visible in 2024. When a lot of businesses think about using platforms like ChatGPT, they often only think about AI art or AI writing, and we’re starting to see some of that already.

LLMs have been a great tool for ecommerce stores, but less so on the long-form content side, and more on the short-form but extremely high-volume side. For example, search engine optimization (SEO) remains important for product listings, but what if you sell hundreds of different products? What if the hundreds of products you sell regularly change?

In the past, this type of monotonous task was overwhelming (or it was just ignored), but AI has made creating product descriptions appropriate for SEO much more tenable, allowing businesses to focus more resources on more important pieces of content, like landing pages, long-form blogs, and more. 

However, where we see the biggest impact of AI isn’t so much on simple writing, but instead on the back-end systems that aren’t necessarily customer facing. 

Back-End Logistics and AI

It turns out, LLMs can be quite powerful. It can make inventory management easier and more streamlined, it can digest marketing data to help pinpoint advertising strategies, and it can even help businesses make more accurate predictions about what products will sell out and when. 

As businesses continue to reshape their supply chains to avoid the points of failure made apparent during the worst of the COVID-19 lockdowns, expect to see back-end systems powered by AI more prevalent and more important. 

Shifting Dynamics in Shipping and Warehousing

Warehousing

We expect to see businesses pursue supply chains with multiple redundancies, but that includes more than just the incorporation of AI into existing systems. Businesses have already started to revamp their supply chains to make them more resilient and reliable (often by incorporating China fulfillment as a secondary, and even primary, fulfillment choice). 

There’s a few specific trends we’ve started to see and expect to see more of in 2024:

Supplier Diversity to Mitigate Risks

The days of relying on a single supplier for your products are over. The last few years have taught us that you must have some kind of supplier diversity for your inventory. Having multiple suppliers means if one supplier can’t keep up with demand, goes under, or otherwise has issues, you still have easy access to your inventory. 

Nearshoring and North American Supply Chains

Nearshoring is a strategy where businesses connect with a supplier that is physically close to their fulfillment centers and general market. For example, companies in the U.S. have been looking to Mexico to establish supply chains that are more resilient to supply chain disruptions. 

If it continues to grow in popularity, nearshoring will have a huge impact on North American supply chains, especially for businesses that have traditionally relied on the power of China manufacturing. Businesses may need to consider a hybrid approach of nearshoring for a domestic market and traditional China fulfillment for international markets. 

Warehouse Automation

Finally, we expect to see more warehouse automation in 2024. We’ve already seen it make a huge impact in 2023, and as we continue to see automated milestones reached, we expect even more warehouses will start to leverage automation powered by AI. 

logistics predictions for on demand economy

Adapting to an On-Demand Economy

Consumer behaviors will always shift and change with the advent of new technology. As businesses have refined their supply chains, customers have continued to have more refined expectations on when and how they get their products. A popular trend that we’ve seen is the solidification of the on-demand economy, and businesses would do well to properly adapt. 

In an on-demand economy, the customer experience is simple, straightforward, and fast. They want to see a product and be able to easily buy it in a matter of seconds, and they expect little to no barriers for popular goods like clothing, toys, and more. Customers also expect their orders to arrive quickly, and while you don’t have to have 2-day shipping, if it takes weeks for products to arrive, you can expect a higher amount of complaints and refund requests than in the past. 

The Rise of Omnichannel Retail Strategies

An on-demand economy often necessitates an omnichannel retail strategy. Customers don’t want to see different branding, prices, and shipping expectations across different sales channels. If they feel like they have to shop around for the “right” channel to buy from, you’re going to lose conversions from customers that are fully integrated into on-demand expectations. 

An omnichannel approach simplifies the shopping experience for customers, but it also makes your back-end logistics far more complicated. However, if you plan to sell through multiple channels to different markets, then considering how to implement an omnichannel approach of some kind will be crucial for 2024.

Subscription-Based Delivery Models Are Here to Stay

Subscription delivery model ecommerce

Subscription-based delivery models exploded in the 2010s, growing more than 300%, and their popularity isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Subscription-based delivery models are a great way to interact with the on-demand consumer culture that is rising, because what’s an easier way to regularly buy a product than having it automatically delivered? 

However, while consumers often love subscription-based delivery, it’s not a magic bullet of success. Businesses need to really consider what they offer consumers in their subscriptions, because once the initial novelty wears off (or customers realize local businesses offer a comparable or superior product at a similar or lower price), customer churn becomes a huge issue. 

Businesses looking to adapt need to not only consider if a subscription model could work for their product, but also need to determine how to make sure that customers see the value in the subscription. It will also become possible to offer more competitive prices if businesses also revamp their supply chains, especially by lowering shipping costs, considering how to break into new markets, and looking into multiple fulfillment solutions. 

Enhanced Personalization of the Shopping Experience

Another trend we expect to see more of is online stores using new technology to create a more personalized shopping experience. For example, fashion brands can leverage AI photo creation to not only make digital models, but digital models that can have physical attributes customized by shoppers. They could make the model taller, smaller, thinner, or wider, and even change hair color or style. 

This kind of personalization is something that will be crucial for future shopping experiences, and we expect stores (like fashion brands) to adopt these features as soon as they are commercially available, which we expect to start seeing this year. 

Customer relationships

Importance of Customer Relationships

It’s more important than ever to build and maintain customer relationships, and we expect to see brands continue to focus on this into 2024. Customers are tired of getting swindled by low-quality brands, or being lied to about shipping times, or otherwise being misled about what they’re getting and when they’re getting it. 

Brands have to make sure that they:

  • Provide clear shipping expectations.
  • Are honest about what their product is and what it offers.
  • Develop extra value beyond a one-time good product.
  • Understand what their customer base values (including but not limited to a specific product), and make sure that customers’ values are reflected in their branding.

Increase in Social-Media Commerce

It’s commonplace for businesses to advertise on social media, but a recent trend that’s been gaining traction are businesses selling on social-media platforms. Tik Tok launched the Tik Tok Shop, and it’s already projected to bring in $17.5 billion in revenue in 2024 just from shoppers in the United States. If it proves to be a success, you can expect other social media platforms to follow suit. 

For ecommerce brands, that means adapting to yet another sales channel, as well as the realities of using a new ecommerce platform that is still developing its fulfillment channels. Do you want to jump in and be one of the first brands in your niche to have a successful store, even though fulfillment issues are common for high-demand goods, or do you want to wait for those platforms to mature so their drawbacks don’t reflect poorly on your brand?

These questions must be addressed, and we expect to see more and more businesses beginning to sell on social-media ecommerce platforms in 2024.

Sustainable package

Sustainability Takes Center Stage

Customers continue to grow more concerned about the impact of their consumption on the environment. However, this concern has evolved to be more than just “is the product itself sustainable,” with customers now scrutinizing business practices and even smaller details that used to go largely unnoticed, like packaging. 

Fortunately, since sustainable practices is now a value-add for customers, brands may be able to adjust pricing to keep profit levels normal (or potentially increase profit levels). For example, a 2020 survey showed that 60% of consumers were willing to pay a higher price for a product if they knew that the packaging was sustainable.  

Brands should keep in mind that what defines a “sustainable” product varies from industry to industry. What works well for one niche may not work well for your product at all, and brands still need to consider sustainable practices alongside what practical works and what is a feasible approach for their business. 

Sustainable Packaging for Ecommerce

Knowing that sustainable packaging is important is important, but that’s very different from understanding what sustainable packaging is. EcommOps already helps customers find sustainable packaging solutions, some of which are more simple than you may think! They include:

  • Cardboard: Cardboard can almost always be recycled, so branded reminders to encourage customers to recycle cardboard packaging can help establish your business as a conscientious brand.
  • Packaging redesign: Sometimes, sustainable packaging is just redesigning packaging to be more efficient. EcommOps helps businesses redesign packaging that is optimized for ecommerce shipping and fulfillment, as opposed to packaging designed with traditional retail in mind. 
Recycling logistics

Green Logistics

Sustainable practices go beyond the actual product being sold. Green logistics is a growing trend that describes making sure that the supply chain a business uses is eco-friendly. There are a lot of different ways green logistics can look. For example, ecommerce brands could consider:

  • A fulfillment service that utilizes electric vehicles.
  • Offering “carbon-neutral shipping,” allowing customers to pay an additional fee to make sure that the carbon footprint made from shipping is neutralized (to note, this is a service offered by EcommOps).
  • Using sea freight services that use carbon-neutral fuels.
  • Implementing circular supply chains focused on recycling end-of-life products back into raw materials for those products.

Green logistics are attractive because they are something that companies can market with to attract customers, and green logistics also often save a lot of money in the long-run. We expect to see more businesses get serious about how to make their supply chains more eco-friendly in 2024, with that trend continuing into the foreseeable future. 

EcommOps: Ecommerce and Logistics Experts

There’s a lot of big changes that we expect to see in 2024, but there’s also going to be surprises that no one sees coming. We encourage any ecommerce brand to keep their fingers on the pulse of trends and changes or to partner with someone that can. 

EcommOps is a 3PL expert, and we help businesses modernize and streamline their supply chains by integrating China fulfillment into their existing processes. We’ve seen China fulfillment completely change the landscape for brands, letting them break into new markets and develop new products, all the while creating more cash flow and more flexibility. 

If you want to see if China fulfillment is a good choice for your business, we’d love to hear from you. Fill out our online form, and our team will be in touch regarding how we can partner together!

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