What is the Role of Third Party Logistics (3PL) Partners in an Omni-Channel Strategy?

What is the Role of Third Party Logistics (3PL) Partners in an Omni-Channel Strategy?

Alea M. Fairchild
DOI: 10.4018/IJORIS.2016010102
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The logistical infrastructure of the supply chains of online and offline sales channels of suppliers have been historically often completely separate. In the growing mobile commerce market, customers interact with suppliers using multiple touch points in one overall stream of information and goods which is considered an omni-channel. For larger suppliers, this can be an intricate chain of either their own resources or global partners. For many smaller suppliers, this is a chain of third parties adding value to the core competency of the supplier. The selection of a logistics partner for a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) is a substantial investment in both infrastructure and a trusted relationship. But do SME suppliers know what they are looking for in an omni-channel strategy, and why? This article examines what characteristics an SME looks for in a 3PL partner in an omni-channel strategy, and discusses how an omni-channel strategy can be developed for these players.
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2. Economics And Structural Logistic Choices

The rise of e-commerce throughout the past two decades has left suppliers and retailers convinced that online operations are a necessary part of a competitive strategy. A 2012 study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) suggests that consumers are increasing their total purchase volumes, as opposed to simply switching their spending to online channels (PwC, 2012).

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