E-commerce on the rise

In recent years, online shopping has become extremely common, and people are more frequently turning to the Internet to complete transactions. Rather than drive from store to store to search for the right product, wait in line and deal with crowds, many people are choosing to shop from the comfort of their homes and have goods shipped to them. This calls for more companies to adjust transportation strategies and ensure drivers are consistently on the most direct route to deliver purchases on schedule.

Online spending growing rapidly
It's no surprise online shopping has continued to grow substantially, and new reports indicate it may be expanding even more quickly than most people imagined. A study from e-commerce platform Bigcommerce revealed that globally, the online purchasing market shot up 162 percent when compared to 2012. There was a 70 percent increase in the number of companies entering the e-commerce market from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013. Independent businesses are especially taking advantage of the online shopping trend and utilizing it to get their products to new consumers - the report revealed these business owners saw a 17 percent revenue increase just from Q4 2012 to Q1 2013.

Buyers aren't just shopping online more frequently, they're also spending more money in the process. Mobile sales are especially popular - iPad shoppers spent $22 million in Q1 2013, while those shopping on iPhones spent $13 million during the first three months of the year. Android users spent $7 million shopping on their phones during this period. The average order jumped 5 percent year-over-year, totaling $105.

"Economists need look no further to prove that e-commerce is thriving," said Eddie Machaalani, co-founder and co-CEO of Bigcommerce. "It's incredible to see this kind of explosive growth, with new e-commerce entrants up 162 percent over last year. It's certainly proof positive that more people are finding entrepreneurial success online especially when they're armed with the right tools."

But online purchasing isn't just attracting consumers who prefer to shop from the comfort of their own homes. Even those who head to brick-and-mortar retailers often just want to see what an object looks like or how it performs in real life, and spend much of their time in the store "showrooming," or using their smartphones to look for a better price online.

Businesses need to change strategies to keep up
With online shopping increasing at astounding rates, both major corporations and smaller retailers need to consider how this will change their shipping processes and how they can make the most of this growing trend. Larger companies may need to shift their strategies and have drivers take more goods to regional warehouses strategically placed across the country, rather than transport most items directly to store locations, to allow for easier shipping to online purchasers. By using route planning software, these companies can better utilize available resources and ensure warehouses are stocked and shoppers get their orders in a timely manner.