Online shopping has moved retail into warehouses

The logistics real estate market prepares for arrival of autonomous vehicles.

Prologis Park NitraPrologis Park Nitra (Source: Courtesy of Prologis)

Online shopping has changed the people’s way of shopping and this has also a huge impact on companies active in the logistics real estate market. This is also the case of Prologis, the biggest company operating on the logistics real estate in Slovakia.

“Actually, retail has moved into warehouses,” said Martin Baláž, vice president, country manager at Prologis for Czech Republic and Slovakia, adding that as the consequence the last touch has become the imperative of the day in logistics.

The Slovak Spectator spoke with Baláž about e-commerce, shortage of labour force, the industrial park Prologis is building in Nitra as well as whether Slovakia is fully using its potential of the country in the middle of Europe.

The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What impacts e-commerce has on the logistics real estate market?

Martin Baláž (MB): Its influence is huge. While five years ago we almost did not register any demands from e-commerce stores like Alza or Mall for renting premises in our parks, now such companies are ones of our biggest customers in Slovakia and in the Czech Republic. The internet has moved retail into a completely different dimension when warehouses fulfil in an increasing scale the function of retail. But the challenge is that when a customer orders something online, they want to have it delivered immediately or as soon as possible. This is why the last touch has become the imperative of the day in logistics.

TSS: What the last touch exactly means or how long it is?

MB: It cannot be measured by kilometres only as it depends how big a city is. The last touch in the biggest European metropolises will differ from that in Bratislava. While in Bratislava it may be half of an hour from the city centre, in Prague it might be a bit longer and in the larger cities it even may last an hour or more. This is why it is ideal to have the last-touch facilities directly in the city. But it is often problem to get a permission to build such a facility directly in the city.

TSS: Does have e-commerce any influence on design of warehouses?

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