For all the talk of the decline in physical shopping centres and the rise of internet retail giants, it is easy to forget the monumental logistical operation that takes place every day behind the headlines. With the rise of online shopping in all of its forms, availability of courier work to support the demand has snowballed, and as it continues to grow, there is a whole world of opportunity to take advantage of new markets as they emerge. Here are three key areas that you should know about, and how they are set to change the future of courier work.
Business to Business
B2B has always made up the lion’s share of courier work, as it is the largest section of the logistics market. It is also the most dependable source of work, as businesses are more likely to have regular repeat orders from suppliers, and will often settle on one or two courier services to fulfil their needs. Historically speaking, it makes sense for this section of the market to have made up the largest share, since there was never a traditional B2B in-person shopping culture to be replaced. Aside from wholesalers that were visited in person, businesses have always relied on delivery services to furnish them with the things they needed to keep their work underway, and this is unlikely to change any time soon.
Growing Demand for B2C
Unlike the B2B market, business to consumer deliveries have undergone rapid transformations in recent years, which have resulted in a proliferation of courier workto keep up with the demand. What was once the reserve of mail order catalogues has escalated into a multi-million pound operation, bringing with it some of the most demanding logistical challenges of our time.
In an environment where consumers expect lightning-fast deliveries and equally speedy refunds for unwanted items, the pressure on delivery drivers has never been greater. However, businesses’ determination to drive demand for their online offering has also created enormous opportunities. While some forecast a return to more traditional modes of consumption, the demand for B2C deliveries shows no sign of slowing – especially as businesses diversify their offering to include less traditional online products, such as groceries.
New On the Scene: C2X
If the growth of B2C deliveries is anything to go by, one thing is for certain: consumers themselves are shaping the market more than ever. C2X, or ‘consumer to everyone’, is the latest example of this. No longer content browsing a product offering decided by the big players in e-commerce, customers are taking matters into their own hands, buying and selling products directly to and from each other with the help of second-hand sales sites and marketplaces. Although this was initially tipped as a growth area of demand for courier work, there are doubts surrounding the scalability of the C2X market, as many platforms that facilitate C2X selling also encourage local in-person deliveries, a development that would render couriers redundant. Either way, with the logistics game changing as quickly as the latest e-commerce trends, it is more important than ever to keep abreast of new developments if your operational goal is to stay ahead of the curve.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.