The changing role and behaviour of consumers in last mile logistics services: A review
The growth of e-commerce and omnichannel retailing has led to significant changes in urban logistics deliveries. In addition to the traditional delivery channels, new solutions have been introduced, such as click-and-collect, parcel locker delivery, crowdshipping, and on-site delivery. However, such solutions require seamless connections between different layers of the city logistics system. These connections form, in the Physical Internet terminology, a “hyperconnected city”. In this context, how do consumers make decisions about logistics services, either as prospective users or as suppliers of last mile logistics services? We argue that a thorough understanding of consumers’ decision-making about last mile services is a prerequisite for the effective exploration of future demand for these services and the design of transport policies. While there is abundant literature on new approaches of last mile logistics, a review of research on consumers’ decision-making and participation in such services is absent. This paper aims to provide such a review and, based on this, provides directions for future research. Based on the existing literature, we propose a conceptual framework that categorises decisions and system attributes affecting consumers’ decision-making. Highlights for future research include interaction between consumers’ demand and supply decisions, changes in consumer preferences, the importance of social networks, and the city-level impacts of hyperconnected last mile delivery.
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