The world of e-commerce has witnessed remarkable growth over the past few years, driven by factors like technological advancements, changing consumer behaviours, and the global pandemic. As we step into 2024, the e-commerce landscape continues to evolve, with e-commerce fulfilment playing a pivotal role in shaping the industry’s future. Keep reading to explore the key trends and innovations that are set to define e-commerce fulfilment in 2024, and how Codestorm can help your business stay on trend over the upcoming year.
1. Hyper-Automation for Efficiency
One of the most significant changes we’ll see in e-commerce fulfilment in 2024 is the widespread adoption of hyper-automation. Automation technologies including robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning will be utilised at every stage of the fulfilment process. This will speed-up and streamline the way fulfilment houses carry out e-commerce fulfilment. Here at Codestorm we’re already utilising automation across our business – from automated returns processes to camera matching but it’s not just in the warehouse either, our LINK software integrates orders from all platforms and provides real time data in the palm of your hand too.
Large fulfilment centres will increasingly employ robots for tasks like picking, packing, and sorting. These robots are equipped with advanced computer vision and navigation systems, enabling them to work alongside human employees safely and efficiently.
AI-Powered Demand Forecasting
In 2024 and beyond, we anticipate that AI algorithms will become even more sophisticated, helping e-commerce businesses accurately predict demand. This will result in better inventory management, reduced overstock, and minimised stockouts.
Automated Last-Mile Delivery
Last-mile delivery will see the integration of autonomous vehicles and drones on a wider scale. This will lead to faster and more cost-effective delivery options, especially in urban areas. We’ve already started to see this with Royal Mail, who are now using drones to deliver to remote Scottish islands.
E-commerce fulfilment in 2024 will be more eco-conscious than ever before – in fact, over half of consumers expect their online purchases to be delivered in a carbon neutral manner. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their purchases, and businesses are responding by implementing sustainable fulfilment practices.
More e-commerce companies will switch to eco-friendly packaging materials that are recyclable or biodegradable. This not only reduces waste but also enhances brand reputation. At Codestorm, we work with a variety of brands, many of which utilise exclusively sustainable materials in their packaging, making us well-equipped to handle specialist green materials.
Delivery routes will be optimised to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Businesses will be able to invest in route optimization software to achieve this goal.
E-commerce giants will strive to become carbon-neutral by investing in renewable energy, carbon offset programs, and sustainable transportation solutions. As some major carriers look to bolster their carbon neutral shipping options Codestorm are already ahead of the game having partnered with Hived and helped many of our clients switch to more sustainable shipping options.
3. Personalised Fulfilment Experiences
In 2024, e-commerce fulfilment will be all about personalisation. Customers will expect tailored experiences that cater to their unique preferences and needs – personalisation can give them that, creating a product and buying experience that feels truly special. Here at Codestorm we have noticed an uptick in personalised orders such as unique subscription plans and delivery options with personalised messages.
AI-driven algorithms will analyse customer data to provide personalised product recommendations, leading to higher conversion rates and increased customer loyalty. This is also a fantastic way for businesses to upsell the rest of their product range.
Some e-commerce businesses will offer the option for customers to personalise their packaging, allowing them to add a personal touch to their orders. Whilst birthday ribbons or bespoke packaging might not seem particularly revolutionary, the opportunity to create memorable, personalised and customised experiences from e-commerce based products allows brands to create better value from their purchasing journey.
Delivery Time Windows
Customers will have the flexibility to choose their preferred delivery time windows, aligning with their schedules and preferences. This will lead to customers being able to choose from a broader range of shipping options at checkout, provided that businesses and e-commerce fulfilment providers have access to these services. Here at Codestorm, we are proud to work with a broad range of delivery companies such as The Delivery Group, DHL, Hived, Yodel and Royal Mail.
4. Augmented Reality (AR) for Enhanced Shopping
Augmented Reality will revolutionise the way customers shop online and interact with products. Intangible items will become more interactive, informing customer’s purchasing habits and creating a more immersive shopping experience. This will feed into the way we handle e-commerce fulfilment in several ways;
Customers will be able to use AR to virtually try on clothing, accessories, and even makeup products before making a purchase decision. This could drastically reduce the number of returns once items are purchased, as customers have already in a sense ‘tried on’ their items.
AR-Powered Product Information
By simply scanning a product with their smartphones, customers will access detailed information, reviews, and ratings, enhancing their shopping experience.
AR navigation within warehouses will assist employees in locating and picking items quickly and accurately, reducing fulfilment time. Paired with the rise in robotics, this will streamline the picking, packing and posting process significantly.
5. 3D Printing for On-Demand Manufacturing
3D printing technology could disrupt traditional supply chains by enabling on-demand manufacturing. This will help to reduce waste as items will be produced as and when needed, allowing businesses to cut costs too. E-commerce businesses will use 3D printing for various purposes;
Customers can order personalised and customised products, from jewellery to home décor, and have them 3D printed on demand. These one-of-a-kind items can be sold for a premium price thanks to their uniqueness, but will take relatively little time to create provided businesses have access to the right technology.
Reduced Inventory Costs
E-commerce companies can reduce their inventory costs by 3D printing products as they are ordered, eliminating the need for large stockpiles. This means that businesses will require less warehouse space for stock that is simply waiting to be sold.
Prototyping and R&D
3D printing will be used extensively for prototyping, research and development, allowing businesses to bring new products to market more rapidly. In a world where products and trends go viral in record time, the use of 3D printing will allow businesses to stay more competitive by reducing their turnaround time from idea to product rollout.
6. Enhanced Security Measures
With the rise in online transactions, security remains a top priority for e-commerce fulfilment in 2024. New technologies will be implemented to protect customer data and prevent fraud in this increasingly digital age where online purchases are the norm. This is just one of the reasons why Codestorm created the LINK platform – we give businesses the ability to control and flag orders that could fail delivery, missing key information or they find suspicious before they make it to our packing stations.
Biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprint and facial recognition, will become more prevalent for secure logins and payments.
Blockchain for Transparency
Blockchain technology will be used to enhance supply chain transparency, providing customers with real-time tracking and verification of product authenticity.
Advanced Fraud Detection
AI-powered fraud detection systems will analyse transaction patterns and user behaviour to identify and prevent fraudulent activities.
7. Voice Commerce and AI Assistants
Voice commerce is on the rise, and AI-powered virtual assistants will play a significant role in e-commerce fulfilment in 2024. These tools allow both customers and businesses to streamline their enquiries and research, speeding up the buyer journey.
Customers can use voice commands to search for products, add items to their carts, and complete purchases through virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. Without even clicking a button, you can order what you need in a matter of seconds.
AI chatbots and virtual assistants will provide instant customer support, answering questions and resolving issues efficiently. This will free up customer service personnel to carry out more demanding tasks, automating the simple day-to-day activities that can take up so much time.
Retailers will use voice-activated AI systems to manage inventory and track stock levels in real-time. No need to scour spreadsheets or manually check inventory: advanced AI can give you the answers immediately.
8. Supply Chain Resilience
The disruptions caused by the global pandemic highlighted the importance of supply chain resilience. E-commerce fulfilment strategies in the upcoming year will focus on building robust and adaptable supply chains as we continue to learn from Covid-19.
Advanced analytics and data-driven insights will enable businesses to identify potential disruptions and proactively adjust their supply chain strategies.
Localised Fulfilment Centres
More e-commerce businesses will invest in localised fulfilment centres to ensure faster delivery and reduce the risk of transportation disruptions. At Codestorm, we are perfectly positioned in Dudley to service our clients fulfilment needs nationally and, geographically, we sit in the very heart of the UK.
9. Subscription-Based Models
Subscription-based e-commerce models will continue to gain popularity in 2024. These models offer convenience to customers and stable recurring revenue streams for businesses. At Codestorm, we handle a variety of subscription-based models, with our client partners at Vitl, Candy Kittens and Tribe all having popular subscription services that customers can rely on, month-in, month-out.
Companies will offer subscription boxes featuring curated products, ranging from beauty products to gourmet foods, enhancing the customer’s sense of discovery. This will introduce customers to new products, amplifying business’ ability to upsell.
Subscription models will expand to include essential items like toiletries and household goods, which customers can receive automatically at regular intervals. Customers will never have to go without their favourite, must-need products, and e-commerce fulfilment providers will sit at the heart of this routine.
Subscribers may gain exclusive access to limited-edition products, discounts, or early product releases, incentivizing more customers to join.
10. Social Commerce Integration
Social media and e-commerce will become even more intertwined in 2024, with businesses leveraging social platforms for marketing and direct sales.
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are already allowing businesses to create shoppable posts, where customers can make purchases without leaving the app. This easy mode of shopping makes digital retailing more accessible and appealing.
‘Showcase’ events and product launches have become a staple on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, offering real-time engagement with customers. Here at Codestorm, we have noticed an uptick in the number of orders we have received from these events, and anticipate that they will increase in popularity in 2024.
E-commerce companies will collaborate with social media influencers and celebrities to promote products and drive sales.
E-commerce fulfilment in 2024 is poised to be more efficient, sustainable, and personalised than ever before. Businesses will leverage automation, sustainability practices, and emerging technologies like AR and 3D printing to meet the evolving demands of consumers. Security and supply chain resilience will remain critical, and subscription models and social commerce integration will drive new avenues for growth. As we embrace these trends and innovations, e-commerce fulfilment will continue to be a dynamic and ever-evolving industry in the years to come.
At Codestorm, we aim to be at the heart of these 2024 trends, driving growth for our client partners by always keeping an eager eye on the innovations that are on the horizon. If you’d like to join us on our journey to a prosperous 2024 by outsourcing your e-commerce fulfilment, get in contact with our team below – we’d love to hear from you!