The Future of Trade Logistics 2025

Anyone who takes a product out of the shelf at the point-of-sale or happily opens the door to the parcel carrier will not always know what logistical processes are caused by the purchase decision or chosen delivery option. The uprising question is, how trade logistics could change in the future? How could store, transport or warehouse logistics look like in 2025? What role could customer data and new intermediaries play? And with what changes in the commercial landscape and the global environments would all this be connected?


The Cologne based EHI Retail Institute has addressed these and a whole series of other questions in a joint scenario project with the ScMI AG. To this end, an expert team consisting of 31 logistics decision-makers from ten retailers out of the food, hardgoods, textile and DIY segment as well as 9 service companies from strategic consulting, IT and logistics were compiled. This interdisciplinary team identified 22 key factors in three one-day workshops and estimated their impact on trade logistics. The scenario-development process resulted in nine scenarios that support concrete decision-making processes within strategic planning.

These consistent pictures of the future differ in several core dimensions such as the degree of digitization (How heavily increases the online business?), convergence and automation in trade logistics, as well as the distortion between the purchase decision and the type of delivery. In addition, trade itself is always in the center of attention. “The active role of trade within the digitization process contributes decisively to whether trade logistics will remain a central function in the future, or whether new players take matters into their hands and push between retailers and end customer” – is one of the core results.

The nine scenarios published by the EHI in a white paper outline possible trends and developments in trade logistics until 2025, which attempt to give companies guidance on the design of their own future business model. In addition, the expert team has carried out an initial assessment of the scenarios so that a development funnel becomes recognizable. It is remarkable that the expectations circle around four scenarios that range from a trade driven scenario up to a scenario where trade is almost powerless. The entire EHI whitepaper with the scenarios is available for free download (in German only) in the EHI-Shop.