KC SmartPort’s Annual Industry Briefing featured an expert panel of e-commerce veterans who noted the Kansas City region’s central location and available skilled workforce are key to a successful e-commerce strategy.
“We know that Kansas City is a transportation hub, a freight center, has a trained workforce and a great package ground hub,” said Chris Gutierrez, president of KC SmartPort and host of the event. “A recent study by UPS also identified Kansas City as the optimal location for e-commerce fulfillment.”
In 2013 e-commerce sales reached more than $232 billion and are expected to reach approximately $370 billion by 2017.Today, 52 percent of U.S. consumers are more likely to make a purchase online as opposed to buying the same item in-store.
“Business-to-consumer is where ecommerce has the most strength,” said Alison Jarlett, managing director of international sales at UPS. “Companies that tailor the experience to the individual consumer make the sale.”
Fluency in omni-channel practices, individualized customer experiences and quality talent are all trending topics in the conversation of e-commerce. One of the most important factors to e-commerce consumers is timeliness in shipping. Panelists quoted five days as the maximum time people are comfortable waiting for a package. One of the many benefits of Kansas City is that companies can ship anywhere in the U.S. in three days or less due to centralized rail, major interstate highways and air transportation.
The KC Deliver panel represented apparel, sports equipment, retail marketing and logistics industries. Panelists included: John Matta, vice president of logistics, Foot Locker; Jerry McDonald, senior vice president of retail, OHL; David Repp, vice president of North America distribution, American Eagle; and David Stein, COO, Title Boxing. The opening presentation was given by Alison Jarlett, managing director of internal sales, UPS.