Abstract

An important change over the last few years has been that both consumers and businesses have adopted e-commerce as a supplement to brick-and-mortar retail stores. This has led to the rise of complex omni-channel distribution, in which firms endeavor to provide a seamless customer experience across channels. Consumers and business customers still expect to receive their products quickly and affordably, but with the option to use whatever channel they prefer. A difficulty many firms face is that these disparate channels often require a portfolio of different distribution facilities. These different distribution facilities can be expensive, complicated to manage, or both. We propose that firms can more efficiently pursue omni-channel strategies by utilizing the sharing economy to supplement their distribution network with shared warehousing. In this article, we examine recent developments in utilizing shared, on-demand warehousing and how it can impact distribution in the future.

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