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President and CEO, Michael Manzione, Shares Insight on eCommerce Industry Growth and the Future of Retail

By:
Rakuten Super Logistics
December 3, 2020


Our President and CEO, Michael Manzione, shared his thoughts with Rakuten Today about the Rakuten Super Logistics growth in 2020 and the future of retail. Here’s his interview:

What sets RSL apart from other logistics providers in the U.S.?

Rakuten Super Logistics is the top-rated logistics company in the U.S.  because we strive to support our clients every step of the way and have the most shipping and eCommerce order fulfillment experience in the industry. Each of our clients has access to a nationwide network of the best fulfillment centers strategically located nearest to their customers. This allows them to cut down on their shipping costs, deliver their orders faster, and have room to house all of their inventory to truly scale their businesses. Additionally, we have the backing of Rakuten behind us which allows us to provide expert customer service from agents right here in the U.S.

What has made 2020 such a big year for RSL?

Rakuten Super Logistics was growing prior to the pandemic. We positioned ourselves for success by expanding and doubling the number of facilities in 2017 and 2018. When the pandemic occurred, we were easily able to take advantage of the accelerated growth in eCommerce.

Related Article: Rakuten Super Logistics ProvidesPeace of Mind for Merchants During Times of Uncertainty

Were there any initiatives that really helped contribute to your growth?

We had several campaigns targeted to eCommerce sellers that helped expedite the growth we’ve seen this year. Our focus included supporting online businesses selling non-essential items and struggling with restrictions from Amazon. Additionally, we gathered shipping nightmare stories from online retailers and helped these businesses overcome their biggest mishaps by streamlining their logistics with our experts.

What are your plans for expanding the business in the future?

Our plan is to transition from a focus on revenue to one of margin. Our short term expansion looks at opening additional east coast & west coast facilities that are focused on providing eCommerce order fulfillment services to  B2B businesses, retailers using dropshipping and inventory distribution. In the longer term, we would like to expand into Canada and Europe.

What trends have you noticed in the industry?

The biggest trend in the eCommerce industry is the Amazon Effect. Amazon has increased its market share and invested heavily in its in-house logistics capabilities. As a result, more eCommerce sellers are turning to their online fulfillment services. Unfortunately, these sellers were greatly disappointed. 

Early during the pandemic, Amazon showed some cracks in their business. Amazon sellers experienced major delays in their shipments and often experienced out of stock items in their online store leading to loss of sales or a poor customer experience.  In July, Amazon announced they would be limiting shipments of Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) sellers during the 2020 holidays.

Following these restrictions, online sellers scrambled to find alternative fulfillment options. Retailers have been forced to diversify their sales channels by building their own eCommerce stores, leveraging other online marketplaces including Target.com and Walmart.com, or use alternative Amazon fulfillment options.

Other industry trends we are seeing revolve around faster delivery. With global parcel delivery expected to pass the $100 billion mark in 2020, and consumers expecting 1-hour deliveries, 2021 is bound to be a busy year. In an attempt to keep up with increasing customer demand, eCommerce retailers may turn more to near-shoring for their products and manufacturing. Manufacturing products closer to home could reduce product wait time and head off any negative impacts like those we have seen with country-wide shutdowns.

The explosion of eCommerce coupled with a recent labor shortage is a direct result of the increasing consumer reliance on online shopping. It’s likely that we will see warehouses reaching a production limit and needing to find a new solution. As a result, many third-party logistics (3PL) companies are beginning to deploy mobile robots to increase their eCommerce fulfillment productivity in 2021.

What technologies are making the logistics industry more efficient? 

As the industry grows, there are several technologies that have seen successfully improve efficiency in eCommerce fulfillment. These include SmartFill Solutions and AI assistance for order demand forecasting, labor planning, and optimizing scheduling modules.

Are there trends for more sustainable shipping?

The rise of eco-friendly, smart warehouses, and building systems and helping meet the need for sustainable shipping. We are seeing online shipping companies make small changes such as adjusting the thermostat automatically when nobody is in the building, monitoring the use of electricity, heat, water, and gas, and using electric transportation like final mile delivery vehicles to leave a smaller footprint on the environment.

On the manufacturing side, circular supply chains are moving towards reuse or recycling methods for product returns.

Do you expect the industry to slow down after the pandemic is over? 

The pandemic has accelerated an already high growth sector of the economy by three years. We see this trend continuing in 2021.

How do you see the future of the industry panning out?

Customers want the best of what a brick and mortar experience has to offer with the flexibility of an eCommerce experience. Buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS) will continue to accelerate as preferred shopping methods and AI expands to offer experiential buying options.

Rakuten Super Logistics is made up of a dedicated group of professionals committed to providing the best eCommerce fulfillment and logistics services worldwide. Our goal is to provide the scalability, flexibility, and cost savings retailers demand. We empower entrepreneurs to grow to their fullest potential and compete with other retailers around the world. 

Ready to see how Rakuten Super Logistics can support your business? Contact us to get a quote today.

Rakuten Super Logistics (RSL) is the leader in eCommerce order fulfillment services and freight brokerage. RSL offers national fulfillment services and a network of 15 US fulfillment centers located in Anaheim (CA), Atlanta (GA), Austin (TX), Chicago (IL), Denver (CO), Houston (TX), Las Vegas (NV), Miami (FL), Olean (NY), Reno (NV), Salt Lake City (UT), and Scranton (PA). Their state-of-the-art technology allows for integration with popular shopping cart platforms and online marketplaces including Amazon, Big Commerce, Channel Advisor, eBay, Magento, ShipStation, Shopify, Volusion, Walmart Marketplace, and WooCommerce. RSL offers modern fulfillment solutions for leading eCommerce retailers focused on reducing shipping costs, improving order accuracy, decreasing shipping times, and increasing customer satisfaction.