E-commerce sales have grown significantly over the last two decades in all of the main markets. This development has progressively induced traditional companies to adopt multi-channel (MC) strategies and include online sales in their business (Agatz et al., 2008). We are now moving towards a new phase, where using multiple channels as a part of the customers’ purchasing process is the rule rather than the exception (Jeanpert and Paché, 2016), according to an omni-channel (OC) strategy where, from the customer’s perspective, there is no longer a distinction between traditional and online channels (Beck and Rygl, 2015; Verhoef et al., 2015).
The challenge is to integrate traditional and online channels according to customers’ requirements (Bernon et al., 2016). In this new scenario, the complexity in supply chain design is further increased, since online channels are characterised by significant growth rates, strong variability of flows and increasing service levels. In light of such issues, a unique and traditional business model is no longer enough to succeed. The supply chain design does not only involve shippers (both manufacturers and retailers), but also logistics service providers (both couriers and third-party logistics (3PL)), with new models of collaboration and integration with the pure player companies that are increasingly building physical networks.
In this context, the role and configuration of traditional assets changes signifcatly: the point of sales may become a logistics centre with the involvement of 3PLs. The replenishment process towards the fulfilment centre and pickup points varies, as well as the setting of warehouses. In addition, the inventory planning, with risk-pooling strategies and allocation policies, together with the management of customer delivery, strongly affects cost and service of the online business.
New research can help to better understand how supply chains are changing and how they can be modelled and optimised. This special issue intends to address these topics and present the latest up-to-date studies in this field, which will be useful not only for academics but also for practitioners.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Omni-channel logistics models
- Supply chain design in omni-channels
- Inventory management in omni-channels
- Collaborative supply chain planning (consignment stock, VMI) in omni-channels
- Design of point of sale to support an omni-channel strategy
- Innovative warehousing models and solutions for omni-channels
- Innovative transportation models and solutions for omni-channels
- Setting of outsourcing relationship in omni-channels
- Supply chain relationships (manufacturer-retailer relationships) in omni-channels
- New models for reverse logistics in omni-channels
- Delivery services in omni-channels
- Distribution network design in omni-channels
- New business models from logistics service providers to support an omni-channel strategy
- Performance analysis and measurement
- Case studies
Submission of manuscripts: 25 September, 2017
Notification to authors: 12 December, 2017
Final versions due: 12 February, 2018
Agatz, N., Fleischmann, M. and Van Nunen, J. A. (2008), “E-fulfillment and multi-channel distribution–A review”, European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 187 No. 2, pp. 339-356.
Beck, N. and Rygl, D. (2015), “Categorization of multiple channel retailing in Multi-, Cross-, and Omni-Channel Retailing for retailers and retailing”, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Vol. 27, pp. 170-178.
Bernon, M., Cullen, J. and Gorst, J. (2016), “Online retail returns management: Integration within an omni-channel distribution context”, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 46 No. 6/7
Jeanpert, S., and Paché, G. (2016), “Successful multi-channel strategy: mixing marketing and logistical issues”, Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 12-19.
Verhoef, P. C., Kannan, P. K. and Inman, J. J. (2015), “From multi-channel retailing to omni-channel retailing: introduction to the special issue on multi-channel retailing”, Journal of Retailing, Vol. 91 No. 2, pp. 174-181.