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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020307

A Critical Comparison of Alternative Distribution Configurations in Omni-Channel Retailing in Terms of Cost and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, 20156 Milano, Italy
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Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract

New opportunities and challenges forced by the ever-increasing importance of the online channel have arisen for retailers. The retailing industry is moving to a new phase, in which the distinctions between traditional and online channels disappear, namely omni-channel (OC) retailing. At the same time, the awareness of environmentally sustainable processes has been enhanced around the world and the environmental impact that results from the online order fulfilment process is becoming a key issue for logistics managers. The new challenge is to understand how multiple channels can be synergistically managed to provide a seamless customer experience, taking an economic and environmental perspective simultaneously. Retailers need to define the distribution configuration for serving the online demand, making decisions on the integration level between online and traditional channels. In this paper, we developed an assessment model of the operational costs and greenhouse gas emissions for three distribution configurations in OC retailing. The model was also applied to a real case operating in the consumer electronics industry. Results highlighted that the search for synergies between online and traditional flows in both warehouse and transport activities is a key factor for the economic and environmental sustainability of OC systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental impact; logistics distribution configuration; sustainable development; omni-channel retailing; activity-based costing model environmental impact; logistics distribution configuration; sustainable development; omni-channel retailing; activity-based costing model
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Melacini, M.; Tappia, E. A Critical Comparison of Alternative Distribution Configurations in Omni-Channel Retailing in Terms of Cost and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Sustainability 2018, 10, 307.

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