Ship-from-store as a sustainable alternative to traditional ecommerce logistics

March 4, 2021
StoreShippers - Nienke van Meekeren
March 4, 2021
StoreShippers - Nienke van Meekeren

Worldwide ecommerce is growing rapidly with no indication of slowing down. As today’s consumers increasingly find their way to online stores, the number of transport movements of polluting vans, trucks and cargo planes is increasing at a rapid pace. To continue to meet the growing demand for online products without impacting the environment, e-commerce deliveries must become more sustainable. One way to achieve this is through ship-from-store.

Traditional ecommerce logistics is polluting
In the case of traditional e-commerce logistics, one or more central fulfilment centres are used from which online orders are shipped. Depending on the distance from the fulfilment centre to the consumer, online orders are sent to multiple distribution centres and sorting centres before final delivery to the individual consumer. Mostly transported with polluting delivery vehicles such as airplanes, trucks and vans. Due to the strong growth of ecommerce and the demand for faster deliveries the number of transport movements that drive back and forth to the consumer is increasing. This inefficient way of shipping orders leads to an increase in carbon emissions, congestion, slower traffic and a decrease in the accessibility of cities.


Ship-from-store has a positive environmental impact on every part of the supply chain

Ship environmentally friendly with ship-from-store
To make  e-commerce logistics more sustainable, businesses mainly focus on the last mile, because that is the most visible part of the supply chain. However, to bring about structural changes, it is necessary to change the supply chain as a whole.  Ship-from-store is doing that with a positive environmental impact on every part of the supply chain- intercontinental, continental, national and local.

1. More environmentally friendly modes of transport
With ship-from-store, online orders are sent from the brick-and-mortar store to the consumer. The store is used as a mini-fulfilment centre, while also retaining its original function as a retail location. Because brick-and-mortar stores are located in close proximity to the consumer, more sustainable delivery vehicles can be used, such as the (cargo) bicycle. Moreover, products can travel the longest part of the supply chain in bulk and not packed in individual boxes, allowing more sustainable and slower ways of transport like boat and train instead of plane and van.

2. Reduction in cargo load
In addition to environmentally friendly modes of transport, ship-from-store provides a reduction in cargo load compared to traditional ecommerce logistics. This is because ship-from-store allows products to be shipped in bulk to the store before they are fulfilled in the local store for delivery to the final consumer. Ship-from-store transports cargo in a more efficient way, which reduces transport movements.

3. Shorter last-mile
When shipped from a central fulfilment centre, which is the case with traditional ecommerce logistics, individual orders travel thousands, hundreds or at least tens of kilometres before they are delivered to the final consumer. With ship-from-store, on the other hand, the ecommerce supply chain can be reduced to only a few kilometres.



Our opinion
StoreShippers believes that ship-from-store is the future of global sustainable online retail. Ship-from-store changes the supply chain as a whole in such a way that it structurally reduces carbon emissions per package. With ship-from-store, fewer kilometres are driven, the kilometres driven are sustainable and the handling and delivery are a lot more efficient than with traditional ecommerce logistics.

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Blog by: Nienke van Meekeren
Sources used: Ship-From-Store: Carbon Emission Calculator
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