DHL Supply Chain, Westerville, Ohio, released its latest research report on the evolution of e-commerce supply chains. The study shows that, despite understanding the vital importance of e-commerce on customer retention and satisfaction, several companies have yet to fully implement an e-commerce strategy.

DHL surveyed nearly 900 decision-makers responsible for logistics or supply chain management and e-commerce from all the major industry sectors, including retail, consumer goods, life sciences, high tech, auto and engineering and manufacturing.

The report reveals that 70% of B2C companies and 60% of B2B companies are still working toward the full implementation of their strategy, even though 70% of respondents rate e-commerce as “very important” or “extremely important” to their business in terms of volume and revenue.

The report, “The e-commerce supply chain: Overcoming growing pains, ” also uncovers the major barriers to full strategy implementation, which include changing customer expectations, pace of delivery and limitations in existing infrastructure.

“E-commerce is a primary driver of business growth. Companies know they can no longer afford to operate without a comprehensive omni-channel strategy that develops a deep personal relationship with each individual customer, but many are at a loss for how to continue to keep up with customer demands,” says Jim Gehr, president, retail, North America. “Both B2B (61%) and B2C (65%) respondents rated e-commerce as having the biggest effect on customer retention and satisfaction, and the number is only expected to increase in the next 3-5 years. That is why it is mission critical for supply chains to provide greater predictability, flexibility and speed to continuously maximize service levels.”

The evolving demands of e-commerce also mean that in the next 3-5 years, over 50% of businesses will be making material changes to their distribution strategy. To deal with this pressure, many companies are opting to partner with a third-party logistics company (3PLs) to augment their in-house resources and capabilities, enabling them to quickly and effectively scale to capitalize on e-commerce opportunities.

“At DHL Supply Chain, we have the benefit of two decades of e-commerce experience across some of the most demanding supply chain applications,” says Gehr. “Our expertise and experience enable our ability to seamlessly respond to fluctuating demand with proven labor solutions and flexible capacity that ensure our customers always have what they need to meet the requirements of theirs. Even though every company is at a different place along the e-commerce strategy implementation continuum, it is always about delighting the customer. And, partnerships with a 3PL are able to deliver the productivity, visibility and agility customers demand.”