WT100 Blog

KC Delivers Delivered New Perspectives on e-Commerce

July 24, 2014

My trip to the KC Delivers Forum in Kansas City, Mo., back in April, was my first "real" experience getting to immerse myself in supply chain logistics, the world of e-Commerce and all things Kansas City (including the delicious barbeque dishes). 

During my time there, I had learned a great deal about why e-Commerce is so important today, how to continue to improve upon it, where to pull inspiration from --including much discussion about "The Amazon Effect"-- and where it's headed for the future. I was able to talk to several people about their views on e-Commerce, and one conversation in particular was from Jeff Risley, Business Development Leader at Barlett & West. 

We spoke over a great barbeque sandwich (with onion rings!) over the effect a national sales tax would have on e-Commerce and local governments. I decided that this is definitely something to follow up on, and contacted Jeff recently about his thoughts over the possible implementation over a national sales tax, and its affect on online retail and local governments-- where you would be able to actually see where the money is going. However there is a debate on areas of buisness that aren't profitting as well as other buisnesses. One question is: will they pay as much as those who are?

CT: What do you think the pros and cons would be of implementing a national sales tax?
Jeff: The pros and cons vary depending on which side of the issue you’re on. The National Conference of State Legislators believes the lack of a national sales tax is hurting Main Street America. Large online retailers like EBay believe this will hurt their value-creation and growth. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

Jeff pointed me in the direction of a great article he had read, "Online Sales Tax: Why E-Commerce Companies Are On Both Sides Of The Debate". Without me realizing, there is indeed a debate about the possibile Marketplace Fairness Act. According to this article, the Act "aims to level the playing field between online retailers and brick-and-mortar businesses, could go into effect as soon as this fall. As it stands now, the bill would require remote sellers, including online businesses, with gross receipts over $1 million to collect sales tax in qualifying states — even in states where a business has no physical presence." The article itself goes into great detail of what you should know and how it may or may not affect your business, and why the debate is important.

CT: What effect do you think that would have on national, or even local, e-commerce?

Jeff: E-commerce is such a mega trend it’s doubtful a national sales tax will stop it from expanding. E-commerce is here to stay because consumers want it – especially younger consumers that have disposable income.

CT: In your opinion, how has e-commerce changed or not changed the supply chain industry as a whole?
Jeff: E-commerce has definitely changed the supply chain industry, and it will continue to. Although e-commerce is still a small percentage of overall retail sales, it’s a fast-growing segment for retailers. It changes the way a retailer operates, from in-store display to the way their Distribution Center is laid-out to how they will handle returns. 

If you're interested in reading how e-Commerce taxes would be collected in a state-by-state interactive map, check out the National Conference of State Legislature's website for more.

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