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During quarantine, people were avoiding public spaces and trying to remain at home as much as possible. Stores suddenly had to adjust to significantly fewer people in their buildings. While digital shopping had been popular before COVID-19, places like grocery stores had to utilize e-commerce much more than they had before. Enter the rise of online grocery delivery. While quarantine is no longer in place, grocery delivery remains a very popular service. The data shows that this trend will only continue to grow—some even predict as many as 155 million Americans will purchase their groceries online by 2025. With such a temperature-sensitive product as groceries, how has cold chain logistics been affected by the rise of e-commerce? Today, we’ll answer that question and go over how we’ve seen the impact of E-Commerce on Cold Chain Logistics. 

What Is E-Commerce and Why Does It Matter for Logistics?

E-commerce is the selling and buying of goods and services through digital means, like online stores. It’s no secret in the past several years online shopping has skyrocketed. From entertainment items to business tools to household goods, the internet has become a hotspot for everyday purchases and shopping. 

An image representing e-commerce

In more recent years, we’ve seen a new shift. While cold and temperature-controlled storage has always been in use, the demand for it has soared. As we mentioned, the pandemic brought a rise in the popularity of at-your-door grocery deliveries. Due to the sensitive nature of groceries, the landscape of cold storage and transportation must transform to meet the needs of the public. Whether you’re in logistics or need logistics services, knowing how this change is impacting the industry is vital to staying ahead of the curve and maintaining customer satisfaction

How E-Commerce Is Impacting the Cold Storage Supply Chain

In our experience and research, there are several key ways e-commerce is impacting and changing the cold storage supply chain. While we may see more in the future as the market continues to shift, these are the ones we believe should be focused on as of right now.

Demand for Faster Deliveries 

With same-day deliveries from stores like Amazon, Walmart, and Kroger, the demand for quick, easy deliveries is higher than ever. Customer satisfaction is highly dependent on how fast their purchase can arrive at their door. 

With products that require cold storage such as groceries, customers are well aware that their delivery is susceptible to time and temperature. They want the freshest ingredients they can get, so they may become dissatisfied if their delivery takes longer to arrive than the day after purchasing. This expectation has forced cold chain logistics to revolutionize their processes in the past few years to ensure fast, high-quality deliveries.

Increased Need for Cold Storage and Temperature Control

With the rise of grocery deliveries, the need for temperature-controlled transportation and storage has also grown. Stores don’t want to disappoint customers and label products as out of stock simply because they do not have the storage. To prevent supply issues, more businesses are investing in cold storage and transportation services—third-party cold logistics providers are a popular choice since they can scale up and down with supply and demand. 

Use of Technology for Precise Data

The last thing stores want is to have an item available on their website when in reality it’s out of stock. The need for real-time data has become a necessity in logistics. From advancements in data collection to the use of AI and automation, we’re seeing a boom in technological advancements in the logistics industry that’s changing the game. If you want to learn more about how we’ve seen technology advance, read our article on innovation in logistics!

“Last-Mile” Process

The last mile in delivery refers to that final leg of actually getting the product to the customer’s door. For grocery deliveries, the last mile requires precise temperature control to ensure the purchase is as fresh and cool as it would have been at the store. Unfortunately, this has historically been one of the most challenging stages to keep consistent temperature control. E-commerce has influenced changes to the last mile process—now, there are more specialized packaging, cold transportation trucks and vans, and flexible delivery windows to help keep the products cool until they arrive at their destination.

Shift to Digital

Since e-commerce is the trading of goods online, logistics is also beginning to move toward more digital solutions. Digital solutions like e-payment and customer reviews are becoming more popular with logistic providers to help make their process more efficient. It has even been used to increase security in warehouses by tracking suspicious behavior or at-risk products.

Stay Ahead of the Market with CWI’s Cold Storage Logistics 

At CWI Logistics, we strive to be one step ahead of the market. We recognize the importance of cold chain logistics, and we’ve risen to the challenge of the changing landscape caused by e-commerce. From embracing new processes to investing in the latest technology, CWI’s cold storage is top-of-the-line throughout Florida. If you’re looking to advance your business and offer e-commerce for temperature-sensitive products, get in contact with our team today to see how we can help reach your cold storage and transportation needs.

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