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E-fulfilment and distribution in omni-channel retailing: a systematic literature review

Marco Melacini (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy)
Sara Perotti (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy)
Monica Rasini (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy)
Elena Tappia (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 19 April 2018

Issue publication date: 1 May 2018

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Abstract

Purpose

Given the progressive growth of e-commerce sales and the rising interest in omni-channel (OC) retailing amongst academics and practitioners, the purpose of this paper is to provide an up-to-date literature review on the logistics involved when moving towards OC retailing. Specifically, we have examined the main issues relating to e-fulfilment and distribution, highlighting how the topic has been developed over time, and identifying the most promising research streams for the near future.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic literature review methodology is adopted. The review is based on 58 papers published from 2002 to 2017 in 34 international journals. The papers were analysed and categorised according to their defining characteristics, methodologies adopted and themes addressed.

Findings

This paper provides an overview of the main issues relating to e-fulfilment and distribution experienced by companies shifting towards OC, mapped along three dimensions: distribution network design, inventory and capacity management, delivery planning and execution. Despite the growing interest in OC retailing, many key topics are still under-represented, including the evolution of retail distribution networks, assortment planning over multiple channels, the logistics role played by stores in the delivery process and the interplay between different logistics aspects.

Originality/value

The paper offers insights into the main logistics issues in MC and OC retailing, as well as highlights potential fields for further investigation. From a managerial perspective, this paper is useful for retailers adopting an OC approach to guide their future efforts concerning their business logistics model.

Keywords

Citation

Melacini, M., Perotti, S., Rasini, M. and Tappia, E. (2018), "E-fulfilment and distribution in omni-channel retailing: a systematic literature review", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 48 No. 4, pp. 391-414. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-02-2017-0101

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited