Last-mile supply network distribution in omnichannel retailing: A configuration-based typology

Stanley Frederick W T Lim, Elliot Rabinovich, Dale Rogers, Timothy M. Laseter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This monograph develops a configuration-based typology describing last-mile supply network (LMSN) distribution configurations in omnichannel retailing. The goal was to integrate relevant terms that have been used disjointedly, with fragmented bodies of theory describing various forms of LMSN. A review of the academic and practice literature was conducted and complemented with secondary observations identifying the key configuration dimensions. Established guidelines for typology and theory building (e.g., Doty and Glick, 1994) were employed in order to develop the typology. The proposed typology comprises four ideal types: Simple LMSN, Hyperlocal LMSN, One-Stop LMSN, and Protean LMSN. The four types are described along the dimensions of: (1) network structure, (2) network flow, (3) relationship governance, and (4) service architecture. Referred to hereas the SHOP typology in LMSN, each type is associated with one or more core logistics capabilities elaborated on in a capability profile. The typology identifies useful LMSN evolutionary patterns and enables scholars to develop models and theories based on the four configurations relating their findings to a specific configuration or across them, rather than expanding efforts on separate and unconnected studies. Notwithstanding, it incorporates elements of the omnichannel context which updates the previous "chain-centric" typology developed by Boyer et al. (2005). It also serves as a stepping-stone toward improved insights on what drives, facilitates, and inhibits "fit" potential of LMSN distribution configuration. The research output enhances managers' understanding of the various forms of LMSN and assists in the identification of possible routes to establish configuration footprints across different LMSNs to support retailers' omnichannel retailing strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-87
Number of pages87
JournalFoundations and Trends in Technology, Information and Operations Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Configuration
  • Last-mile supply network
  • Logistics capabilities
  • Omnichannel
  • Typology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research


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