International trade is by no means a new phenomenon. Records show that as long as 5,000 years ago, historical civilizations were actively trading goods across continents. Prominent among them was the trade in spices – high value, luxury materials that were prized and coveted across many cultures. The spice trade shaped the development of international cultural and economic ties right through to modern times and gave birth to many of the major trade routes that still exist to this day.
In recent years, e-commerce has fundamentally changed the way we trade: every day, millions of purchases are made online, and truckloads of shipments are being delivered to consumers’ homes. However, even this megatrend is currently undergoing a further revolution – consumers are increasingly becoming more comfortable with the idea of buying from retailers and manufacturers abroad. In fact, every seventh online purchase is already conducted as a cross-border transaction.
At DHL Express, we know from experience that the opportunity of going global is out there for the taking for all types of retailers and manufacturers – small or medium-sized, experienced in or relatively new to online sales. E-commerce has profoundly changed the entire parcel and express industry ever since, shifting from a pure B2B focus to also addressing B2C-related requirements. With this, the industry finds itself today in the position of having to serve two important customers at the same time – the e-tailer as the shipper and the discerning consumer whose service expectations are increasing at an ever higher pace. The e-commerce paradigms sometimes even seem contradicting: cost and – not versus – convenience, volume and value, fast movement and constant improvement. As a result, e-commerce has turned the parcel and partially the express industry into an entirely different animal compared to what it used to be a decade ago.