The boom in online shopping over recent years has placed greater importance on key logistics operations such as warehouse sorting and delivery services.

A new report by iForce – one of the UK’s leading retail multi-channel logistics providers, which supplies a number of high-profile clients such as John Lewis and Waitrose – has revealed a 75 per cent increase in the amount of online transactions in the past twelve months.

Naturally, the Christmas period saw the greatest volume of sales, with iForce reporting 260,000 orders placed in the week commencing December 9th, representing a 31 per cent increase on the previous year, while Tuesday December 18th was revealed to be single busiest day, with 150,000 orders processed.

While an increase in the volume of online orders may have been fairly easy to predict due to the continual advancements being made in technology, one unexpected trend is the growing demand for rapid delivery, with a number of orders being placed in the 48 hours prior to Christmas day.

All of this is likely to translate into an expansion within the logistics sector in order to meet the growing demand for express delivery of goods purchased online.

As a result, industry leaders such as iForce are likely to increase their recruitment operations, hoping to tempt more people into careers in logistics.

While many employees within the sector may now be looking forward to taking their foot off the pedal slightly following the busy Christmas period, one industry expert is warning that January could be an equally hectic month as logistics providers become inundated with products being returned to retailers.

An inevitable offshoot of the online shopping trend is that many buyers do not get to try the items they buy before receiving them, which is why Laurie King of supply chain consultancy Crimson & Co says the e-commerce boom could have a double whammy effect on the industry as reverse logistics become increasingly essential.

According to Mr King, “the returns process for many is now part of the e-shopping experience”, which is why businesses may be relying more than ever before on their logistics departments in the coming years.

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