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  • Opportunity Fulfilled: A 5-part series on ecommerce logistics in 2023

Opportunity Fulfilled: A 5-part series on ecommerce logistics in 2023

After doubling the size of its logistics network during the pandemic, Amazon recently shifted from a national model to a regional approach. That means eight regions are now stocking in-demand items, all in a bid to speed up delivery times and cut costs. In the end, it’s a reminder that logistics is part of Amazon’s brand.

Walmart’s ecommerce logistics operation may never have a footprint that rivals Amazon’s sprawling network. But the world’s largest retailer has a big built-in asset: Thousands of stores in close proximity to a huge swath of the U.S. population. Walmart demonstrated how it can press that advantage this week, as the retailer opened a fulfillment center inside a hometown store.

Target put stores at the center of its ecommerce strategy years before the pandemic, leaving it positioned to capitalize on the spike in digital demand. As it continues to grow the “stores-as-hubs” model, Target is adding downstream sortation centers, and introducing larger delivery vehicles via Shipt.

Chewy has long been known for Autoship, which provides recurring orders of products that always need replenishing like pet food. Now the pet marketplace is putting a focus on building automation in the supply chain with new fulfillment centers. At the same time, optimizing upstream routes and containerization is creating more efficiency.

Shopify and American Eagle aimed to take on the giants by acquiring logistics companies, and made plans to build new networks that can be accessed by third-party brands. This year, they’ve both reversed course by either selling or scaling back these businesses. It offers a cautionary tale for executives weighing a classic dilemma: Build or buy?

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