The “virtual” or “intangible” nature of e-commerce might suggest that selling online is environmentally friendly. Some studies, yet few, unfortunately tend to doubt the virtuous effects of electronic commerce in this area. According to a study on online sales of books, in the United States, 73 megajoules (MJ) per pound consumed by electronic commerce, while only 53 megajoules are consumed for the traditional trade; in Japan, in the city of Tokyo, electronic commerce requires 9.3 MJ per pound while the traditional trade consumes 1.6 MJ.
Studies on sustainable urban mobility show that the topic of urban goods deliveries is a major issue of CO2 emissions (over a third of urban emissions), NOx, particles and noise in the city, as well as urban congestion. For development of Internet sales has a positive impact , it is necessary to find solutions for the terminal link of the chain logistique.
Optimization of the supply chain includes shipment consolidation in delivery points located near customers. Large companies have developed mail distribution methods based on Relay Points, through specialized subsidiaries as Mondial Relay (3 Suisses International), Sogep (La Redoute), or Distrihome (Yves Rocher).