Amazon vs Alibaba: new retail and logistics, a closer look into the future

The success of e-commerce is one of the most disruptive dynamics shaping our buying habits and the whole ecosystem of online and offline commerce. A good example would be the struggle for hegemony between Amazon and Alibaba. In an attempt to conquer the retail kingdom through million dollar acquisitions, their real battlefield is actually logistics.

How to deliver products to millions of users worldwide?

In this video, an Amazon’s California warehouse on Cyber ​​Monday 2016, a day of promotions and discounts. To give an idea of ​​the sales volumes, Cyber ​​Monday 2017  has been the most profitable shopping day ever in the USA. Online transactions generated over 6.5 billion dollars, an increase of 16.8% over the previous year.

These sales and shipping volumes require to rethink the logistics architecture in a whole different way. Not surprisingly, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos acquired Kiva Systems in 2012, the manufacturer of the high-performance robots that service warehouses, effectively preventing its competitors from using the same technology and obtaining a competitive advantage of at least 4-5 years.

Alibaba has nevertheless learned the lesson, as seen in this Chinese warehouse, where robots manage 70% of work by moving loads up to 500 kg:

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has also theorised the concept of “new retail“: a fusion of traditional retail and e-commerce in futuristic sales points that would ensure free deliveries in 30 minutes within a distance of 3 km, facial recognition systems, mobile payment apps and QR code. Next steps? Drones, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR).

These new dynamics carried out by top players are also visible on smaller levels of trade. In a globalized market, it is sufficient to rely on a network of express transportation services to export, for instance, Made in Italy goods to every corner of the world.

What will come next is yet to be seen. But it’s not hard to foresee what would happen if companies were to disregard progress and technology.

The world we live in is changing rapidly and is constantly evolving: only the best and most innovative ideas can prevail. One thing, though, is certain: the biggest companies have raised the bar for all industrial sectors. By improving the efficiency of work processes, companies can ensure reliable delivery times and security in the management of shipments, as well as free up resources to be allocated to business development activities.

The logistics and transport sectors are increasingly interconnected and must evolve in parallel to ensure efficiency. When selecting the right delivery partner, express transport networks should not be forgotten: customers have increasingly high expectations.