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Professor leads research effort on e-commerce logistics sustainability in the post COVID-19 era

October 6, 2022

A Northwood University professor has led a team of international researchers who examined e-commerce logistics sustainability in the post COVID-19 era.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, dramatic increases in online transaction volume occurred. With that, urban logistics and the impact on the environment have also increased in importance. The critical significance of environmental sustainability as a decisive link for the success of e-commerce is now apparent,” said Dr. Kevin McCormack, who supervised Hao HUA and Han WU in a research project that was a joint effort between Northwood and Skema Business School, France.

In previous studies, the environmental sustainability of e-commerce logistics has not been analyzed from the consumer’s viewpoint. This study investigated the key factors affecting e-commerce logistics from the perspective of the final consumers.

“Our intention is to serve as a basis for ecological friendly logistics practices that will improve the sustainability of ecommerce logistics,” McCormack explained.

E-commerce logistics has become one of the most critical factors affecting the supply chain. Customer perceptions of the sustainability of e-commerce logistics has also become very important. This research examined how consumers perceive e-commerce logistics in the Chinese market, which is the largest e-commerce market in the world. Chinese consumers’ sentiments toward e-Commerce green (or sustainable) logistics practices were gathered and analyzed.

Here is what they found:

1.     The more educated the consumer, the more favorable they are toward sustainable e-commerce logistics practices. Therefore, the less educated the consumer, the more negative attitude they have toward sustainable e-commerce logistics practices.

2.     There are no differences in attitude factors and relationships between men and women.

3.     Consumers see a trade-off in the convenience of e-commerce and the sustainability and are willing to give on the convivence for improved sustainability (pay a little more and wait a little longer).

4.     Consumers generally have a favorable attitude toward sustainable e-commerce logistics practices.

“Our findings suggest that consumers are generally favorable to e-commerce logistics’ sustainability practices, within reason,” McCormack stated. “This says there is an opportunity for improved practices. Improved education of consumers on these practices and impacts will help in the acceptance of environmentally friendly logistics strategies. Since e-commerce is the future and the future is here, consumers want it to be sustainable and environmentally friendly.”

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