How Warehouse Fulfillment Will Help E-Commerce Businesses Bring Their Products Closer to Consumers
Are you an e-commerce retailer looking to grow your business? If yes, you will need a reliable way to store and ship products. Warehousing is one of the most common ways of doing that.
E-retailers can use three main types of warehousing: distribution, fulfillment, and cross-docking centers. Choosing between these options depends on how much time you have, how much space you have available, and the volume of items you're storing and delivering.
In this article, we will discuss warehouse fulfillment and go over some important considerations for choosing the best order fulfillment service for your e-commerce business.
E-Commerce is Growing Rapidly
With the rapid development of e-commerce, its growth is a global trend. The global e-commerce market is projected to grow by almost 12.2% by the end of 2022, reaching $5.542 trillion.
North America and Europe are expected to account for more than 40% of the total amount within the global e-commerce market, driven by rising consumer confidence and increasing disposable income. The Chinese population spends twice as much on online shopping as Americans do per person. But, the gap is going to close soon as purchases in North America are projected to increase rapidly year after year.
Although China remains an extremely important online shopping market, it has become saturated with consumers willing to purchase online. It has resulted in slower growth compared to other regions around the world, where there is still greater potential for the development of e-commerce websites and sales through social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.
The Growth of the E-commerce Market is Driven by Investment
Investment in customer experience technology results in customer loyalty, and that drives growth. As your company invests in customer experience, you gain more customers and make more money. You can then use that extra revenue to invest further in the customer experience and grow even faster.
The most obvious way e-commerce companies are investing in their customers is by improving the overall user experience. The entire industry has grown up on a foundation of information systems designed to help businesses efficiently communicate with their customers, and track and organize consumer data.
Companies like Amazon have gone even further by offering subscription-based services like Prime that guarantee consumers faster shipping times or exclusive access to certain products.
The Growth of Online Retailing and Its Impact on Warehouse Fulfillment
The growth of online retailing has had an impact on warehousing. For example, with more e-commerce comes the demand for faster deliveries, which causes warehouses to be situated closer to consumers and increases the need for automation to streamline processes. The size of existing warehouses is growing, and new warehouses are being built to meet the needs of this growing industry.
New warehouse layouts have emerged as a result of e-commerce, such as cross-docking facilities that connect receiving shipments with outbound trucks as quickly as possible.
These new layouts require a different type of labor than traditional warehouse operations. Some types of fulfillment labor will be required more often (e.g., order pickers), while other types will be required less often (e.g., forklift operators).
Changing Consumer Demands and Preferences
A growing number of consumers demand more products to be delivered to their doorstep quickly and at a reasonable cost with minimal fuss. The pressure is on freight companies and retailers to think outside the box.
The biggest issue facing online shopping and delivery today is speed: online shoppers want their packages now. Faster shipping options come with costs that are often passed down to the consumer, but Amazon's Prime service offers free two-day shipping on most items for an annual fee, making it the go-to choice for many consumers.
Other companies have sprung up in recent years and offer same-day (and sometimes even one-hour) local deliveries from big box stores like Home Depot and Best Buy. They often beat Amazon Prime's two-day delivery time.
Adjusting Warehouse Design and Automation to Meet Current Demands
When building a new warehouse, you need to be conscious of its design. It should be capable of handling the volume and type of product your company offers. For example, if you have large pallets that require more space to store, your warehouse design should consider that.
Automation is another way in which warehousing companies have been able to increase their productivity. Automated storage and retrieval systems are a great addition for companies with a high volume of products flowing through their facilities regularly. They help speed up picking and packing so that orders can be processed quickly and efficiently.
What Does This Mean for the E-Fulfillment Industry?
It is a good time to invest in and partner with a fulfillment service provider for your warehouse fulfillment. By working with a trusted partner, you will be able to focus on your core business, while they handle all the logistics of running a warehouse. It includes quality control, picking and packing, inventory management, and storage.
A recent report by market analyst Armstrong & Associates forecasts that automation technology will drive productivity growth in the e-commerce order fulfillment sector. In addition, many retailers are building more warehouses closer to their customers or relying on third-party companies to do so.
Besides speeding up deliveries, it also improves customer satisfaction through quicker response times and greater supply chain flexibility.
Warehouse and Order Fulfillment - A Boon to the E-Commerce Sector
To run an online business successfully, you must know the importance of warehouse fulfillment. It is a challenging process. The best way to reduce this complexity and make it work is by choosing a good warehouse management system that can provide excellent support for inventory control and order processing.
The most advanced software will integrate with your e-commerce platform and shipping services like USPS and UPS. A few more benefits include:
- Automated order tracking
- Efficient packing
- Faster order processing
- Direct integration with carriers