Ecommerce Europe discusses e-Logistics Platform with European stakeholders

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Logistics service providers, consumer representatives, payment service providers and other stakeholders gathered to discuss creating more transparency in the parcel delivery market through the Ecommerce Europe e-Logistics Platform. Ecommerce Europe invited all parties with an interest in the platform to have an open discussion on how to cooperate to make the platform a success for online merchants wanting to sell cross-border.

The Ecommerce Europe e-Logistics Platform

As the Ecommerce Europe Survey “Barriers to Growth” shows, slow, costly, and unreliable cross-border parcel delivery is in the top-3 of issues merchants face when they want to sell in another country. Ecommerce Europe wants to help online merchants and especially smaller ones (SMEs) in getting their parcels delivered cross-border by the creation of an online e-Logistics Platform. The platform will have an enormous impact on transparency, cost decrease and quality improvement by being the catalyst power at the centre of the whole e-Logistics ecosystem and by connecting merchants, service providers and databases.

The platform for more transparency

The e-Logistics Platform intends to be the most comprehensive source for delivery intelligence in Europe and lists all delivery suppliers active in e-commerce on the same website, in a comparison tool format. In this way, online merchants can quickly identify which operators are most suited for their needs. The platform will also offer SMEs, which are often not logistics specialists, country by country information on regulations which impact their logistics set up and information on delivery habits. Next to this the platform aims to help retailers in their supplier selection by integrating a matchmaking and marketplace feature.

The platform for improved service

The overall perception of quality of service for cross-border deliveries (beyond ‘integrators’ which are well integrated, but not always affordable for all merchants) is poor: delivery times are slow and track and trace information is often incomplete. Currently no independent information exists on the matter. Based on an experiment by the French e-commerce Federation (“Fevad eLogistics observatory”), the Ecommerce Europe e-Logistics Platform will – in the long run – connect various databases of actors analysing couriers’ track and trace in a standardized way. This independent and scientific dashboard is a unique opportunity for merchants and service providers to build shared action plans leading to higher customer satisfaction and hence a higher e-commerce penetration.

The platform for better affordability

As both e-commerce and delivery are overall low margin industries, negotiations in delivery contracts often focus on prices. Logistics is a volume business, and costs can be decreased by increasing cross-border volumes and flows. Ecommerce Europe intends to help retailers by – in the long run – incorporating in its e-Logistics platform a feature allowing merchants to combine volume, both for first mile freight forwarding and for last mile volume discounts. This feature will be especially useful for SMEs that do not have the necessary scale to inject their volume in foreign networks and will hence be offered a much wider choice in service offering and much cheaper options in cross-border delivery. Ecommerce Europe favors this freight pooling capacity between retailers as it will improve the trucks fill ratio and will reduce the environmental impact of delivery as well.

Next steps

Ecommerce Europe will remain in close dialogue with all stakeholders of the e-Logistics platform project (online merchants, suppliers and consumers) to ensure that the platform is widely supported and truly brings added value to the e-commerce ecosystem. The association is now applying for public and private funding and aims to launch the platform in 2016.

For more information on Ecommerce Europe’s position and projects in the field of parcel delivery, please see theEcommerce Europe Position Paper e-Logistics – A Need for Integrated European Solutions (May 2015).

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