The impact of ecommerce on UK infrastructure

In this interview Burges Salmon's Matt Sims discusses the logistical challenges facing retailers and the impact of ecommerce on UK infrastructure.

01 September 2017

An interview with Matt Sims, Head of Retail at Burges Salmon. This is part of a series of interviews gathering perspectives on infrastructure. Watch the full interview (or read the transcript) below.

What are the logistical challenges for retailers?

There's three main challenges in logistics in infrastructure in the UK at the moment for retail. The first is the heavily congested road and rail systems, the second is the land constraints and the lack of land which is available for industrial use, and the third is a skills shortage – both haulage workers and construction workers – which is going to be further exacerbated by Brexit.

The government really needs to get to grips with all these issues. They need to invest heavily in the road and rail systems otherwise the UK is going to get left behind from the rest of the world – the likes of Hong Kong and Singapore – and they also need to address the skills shortage both in haulage and construction workers.

What is the impact of ecommerce on infrastructure?

Ecommerce in retailing is creating a massive strain on infrastructure: it's both the supply of goods to consumers online and it's dealing with returns. For example after Black Friday there were five million parcels that came back to retailers at a time when they were desperate to get them back into the shops again.

Personalisation in deliveries is going to be the big thing this year in retail. Retailers want to move from a blunt, same delivery option for all consumers to reward those consumers that shop frequently with them. That's going to require massive cost and analysis of all that data to understand how they should alter their supply chain logistics to deliver that personalisation in deliveries.


For more perspectives on infrastructure, read our industry report featuring 13 in-depth interviews with industry leaders and key decision makers in the infrastructure sector.

The impact of ecommerce on UK infrastructure

Retailers want to move from a blunt, same delivery option for all consumers to reward those consumers that shop frequently with them.
Matt Sims, Burges Salmon

Perspectives on infrastructure

Perspectives on infrastructure

How can we improve the delivery of UK infrastructure? Views from industry leaders and key decision makers, along with survey results from 1,651 members of the general public.
Read report