E-commerce has attracted increasing interest at the beginning of the 21st century, in both academia and practice. Today, the Internet is commonly used by both consumers and businesses as a means of purchasing goods. The authors’ study focuses on e-commerce logistics, focusing on the physical delivery of goods sold over the Internet. Based on a systematic review of articles, the authors will summarize and analyze the main findings of academic literature and highlight certain research issues recognized on this topic. The main objective is to study the state-of-the-art of e-commerce logistics research and future research needs. The reviewed articles have been formed into seven categories, and each category is discussed in the paper. The largest categories discuss e-commerce logistics in relation to retail strategies, logistics strategies and structures, and buyer preferences. Although logistics is a critical part of e-commerce, it seems based on the review that not many e-commerce logistics solutions have been developed or studied in current research, and logistics has often been treated as only a minor issue among other issues in e-commerce.
The objective of this study is to provide a systematic literature review of e-commerce logistics. A systematic review approach has been earlier conducted by e.g., Cooper (1989), Tranfield et al. (2003), Bontekoning et al. (2004), Pittaway et al. (2004), Karjalainen et al. (2009), and Islam and Scupola (2011). According to Cooper (1989, pp. 12-13) researchers usually conduct one of two possible types of literature reviews – an integrative research review or a theoretical review. The former summarizes and draws conclusions based on relevant studies, and the latter focuses on the theories employed to explain the phenomena and evaluates them. In this study the appropriate strategy is the integrative research perspective, because the focus of the paper is to discuss the aspects that have been studied in e-commerce logistics, to summarize the key issues studied by analyzing the state-of-the-art of research, and to identify important issues that were unresolved in earlier research, i.e., an agenda for future research arising from the literature review.