DHL eCommerce Rises to Meet Growing Demand

It's no secret that the growth in online retail sales has been rapid over the past two decades. In 1997, less than one percent of all retail sales in the United States were made online; 20 years later, that figure had grown by 3,000 percent with online sales comprising 9 percent of all U.S. retail sales.

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With the rise of e-commerce, trucking companies have also had to change and adapt to meet the evolving needs of e-commerce businesses and their customers. DHL has sought to meet this growing demand by creating its DHL eCommerce division. Having grown out of the global logistics giant's MAIL division in 2014, DHL eCommerce provides global parcel pick-up, delivery and package return services for e-commerce customers combined with logistics and fulfillment solutions within the American, Asian Pacific and Middle Eastern/African markets.

As DHL eCommerce Americas CEO Lee Spratt notes, the e-commerce supply chain offers some unique challenges not found in other shipping and logistics services. The "last mile" has proven a particular obstacle as customers now expect greater visibility and more information than a traditional tracking number can provide.
"[The last mile] plays a significant role in the customer experience, and with cities becoming increasingly congested and urban consumers requiring more convenience, there is huge pressure on retailers to be ever more flexible while keeping their costs down over the final mile," he stated.

DHL eCommerce has forged some innovative solutions in an attempt to meet these unique challenges. At the end of 2018, the company introduced a flexible transport networks, automation and data model aimed at assisting e-commerce businesses and their logistic partners companies in analyzing and improving their performance over the last mile of deliveries with a focus on urban environments.

The company has also launched several pilot programs to explore flexible delivery models. For example, DHL Parcel Metro looks to boost the level of automation used in distribution and fulfillment centers by utilizing advanced robotics and automated conveyors. DHL has also brought onboard a team of data scientists with the hope that they can help improve the company's machine learning, data analysis and management capabilities.

In total, DHL eCommerce's existing services and developing solutions are crafted to reflect the fact that, as Spratt notes, "there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution that will allow companies to increase their competitiveness."