Last updated: E-commerce supply chain: Prepping for the next generation

E-commerce supply chain: Prepping for the next generation


As Gen Z prepares to take over the world, they’re demanding the brands and retailers they purchase from to be better, from consumer experience to ethics and sustainability.

Brands need to get ahead of the curve by preparing their e-commerce supply chain for this next generation of consumers now.

E-commerce supply chain for digital natives & conscious consumers

Gen Z is a force to be reckoned with. Born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, they’re entering the workforce and stepping boldly into financial independence. This is the first generation to have grown up with portable technology and internet access embedded into their everyday lives. While many of us remember playing quietly, Gen Zers were handed a smartphone or iPad.

With all of the information they could ever need at their fingertips, Gen Zers are more likely to do their research online when purchasing products. They also have strong opinions about the environment and social justice and recognize the power of social media when it comes to both purchasing decisions and holding companies accountable.

With their estimated buying power of $140 billion, it’s important we understand their needs clearly. And meeting these new consumer needs requires rethinking the e-commerce supply chain.

Balancing omnichannel CX with sustainability

For the next generation of shoppers, it’s about more than a label. The brands they purchase goods from have to align with their values, genuinely.

For brands and retailers, this means the customer experience needs to be consistent on every channel- that’s everything from the amount of product, to the quality of images, to the actual content they’re sharing. And for e-commerce, it means the brand promise has to be fulfilled, which makes things like reliable delivery and frictionless shopping critical.

Gen Zers need to connect with brands that share their values, combined with their need to get products and services fast and efficiently creates an interesting intersection between supply chain and e-commerce.

This is where consumer-driven omnichannel capabilities place a strain on the global supply chain, and ultimately, the environment.

Technology plays a key role in adapting to this landscape, helping e-commerce brands meet omnichannel demands while allowing them to prioritize sustainability. Consumers now expect an unprecedented level of visibility, requiring a supply chain that’s data driven, intelligent and responsive to their needs.

Learn more about how Gen Z is changing e-commerce HERE.

Operational sustainability

When we’re talking about sustainability and e-commerce supply chain, shipping is a key component. According to Statista, 157 billion parcels were shipped globally in 2021. That number is expected to grow to 160 billion this year, reaching 266 billion in 2026.

To better prioritize sustainability in their operations, organizations should consider:

  1. Take a greener approach to transportation, leveraging technology such as machine learning to create faster, smarter and easier logistic plans.
  2. Empower consumers with environmentally conscious buying decisions – options like packing all items and shipping them in one box, versus delivering several items in different oversized boxes at different times.
  3. Create a user experience that allows consumers to add products to an order if the order hasn’t yet shipped. Message prompts like “I see you ordered a shirt this morning, can we add this order to that shipment? You will get your shirt a day later but will save X on greenhouse gasses” can be very effective in helping consumers be part of the solution.

The reality is that Gen Z is forcing change at an accelerated rate and will continue to do so. Brands and retailers will need to follow suit or be prepared to be left behind, because Gen Zers are watching and will hold them accountable, either through their purchasing power or on a public stage.

Supply chain challenges can make for a wild ride. Get advice, best practices, + predictions from top experts HERE.

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