Logistics trends in ecommerce in 2018

trends  February 26, 2018

The pace of global logistics in ecommerce is non-stop. A lot is happening throughout this industry and this year is no different. Let’s take a look at 5 key logistics trends in ecommerce in 2018.

Delivery subscriptions

It’s a trend in ecommerce that we’ve seen a lot in the last few years, and it seems to be gaining even more ground in 2018. Subscription commerce involves the provision of products on a subscription basis. In the case of delivery subscriptions, it concerns the delivery service instead of products. In exchange for a fixed amount per month or year the consumer enjoys unlimited free delivery. Sometimes premium delivery options are also included. The concept has swept from the US and is becoming increasingly popular across Europe.

Delivery subscriptions will encourage consumers to shop more frequently and keep the retailer at the forefront of consumers’ minds. It turned out that one in five online shoppers in the UK has subscribed to a delivery service. The majority of this is affiliated with Amazon Prime, but also ASOS and Boohoo.com are doing very well among the UK shoppers. The biggest reason behind the success is that the barrier to buy something becomes very low with delivery subscriptions. When shipping costs have to be paid, people often reassess before ordering something.


66% of consumers reported having bought from one retailer in preference to another due to superior delivery options

Nominated day delivery

A survey shows that 66% of consumers reported having bought from one retailer in preference to another due to superior delivery options. 50% of the respondents who participated in the survey had abandoned a purchase online due to unsatisfactory delivery options and 50% are willing to pay for a more convenient delivery option[1]. This shows that it is important to provide your consumers a choice when they order something from you. One of the options that definitely must be among the options offered is nominated day delivery.

Nominated day delivery lets the consumer choose a day and time window for their order to be delivered. Speed is no longer the most important element in deliveries. Consumers value convenience and choice, so nowadays it is important that the consumer has the certainty that the package comes at the moment that suits him[2]. Webshops that have already implemented this service include ASOS, Marks & Spencer and Amazon.

Sustainable logistics

The rising number of online purchases also causes a rising number of deliveries and delivery options. This has a negative impact on the environment. To stand out in the competitive world of e-commerce, online retailers often offer different delivery and retrieval options like express delivery, same-day delivery and easy return options. Research from the University of Delaware shows that these options put additional pressure on the environment[3]. With standard delivery, multiple orders are bundled and delivered in one delivery trip. With express delivery and same-day delivery, fewer parcels are bundled, thus more delivery trips are necessary. Returns are generally one-off pick-ups that cannot be organized into bulk pick-ups or deliveries. This means an increase in kilometers travelled for small-scale deliveries. The problem also lies in the fact that instead of including one-off purchases in other shopping trips, like grocery shopping, people are making more one-off online purchases while the number of shopping trips remained unchanged.

Despite these developments, there are several initiatives that can ensure sustainable delivery. These include green delivery vehicles and sustainable packaging. Also awareness and the provision of sustainable options are important for a fully informed and responsible choice for online shoppers.



Automation is becoming increasingly important in ecommerce logistics. Smart glasses and drones are examples of these automations. Backed by augmented reality, integration with smart glasses will make deliveries easier by hands-free route searches, face recognition for error-free deliveries and personalized deliveries[4].

Delivery without a receiver

A recent survey we conducted across the UK, France and the Netherlands shows that 54 per cent of online shoppers had a failed delivery attempt last year. This creates inconvenience for consumers, because the waiting time for the product is longer, but also for the courier who must face additional charges. In 2018 we will see more and more innovative solutions that will ensure flexible delivery. Examples of these are in-home delivery, in-car delivery and unmanned safes.

[1] Econsultancy (2016), Ecommerce delivery: what do consumers want.
[2] Paazl (2017), The 5 key trends in ecommerce delivery for 2018.
[3] PowerRetail (2016), The sustainability of e-commerce delivery.
[4] MH&L (2017), Trends that will revolutionize logistics in 2018.
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