WAREHOUSE SOLUTIONS FOR ECOMMERCE BUSINESSES
Whether you’re a new business or you’ve been around for a while, brands in the e-commerce space are now more than ever having to think about their storage solutions. The continued rise of ecommerce has exposed growing small businesses to the idea of working with warehouses for the first time in order to manage inventory and scale operations.
What Do Your Storage Solutions Look Like?
You might be thinking about utilising a warehouse space to store physical goods before they are sold online, navigating environments like warehouse mezzanine floors. This is becoming more and more common in ecommerce as the rapidly growing industry continues to expand.
As a critical part of your supply chain, your warehousing solutions should be carefully considered. How does your business currently store inventory? If you’re just starting out, you may have been utilising your living room, home office or garage space. Or you might be paying money for a storage space, leasing a warehouse space, or even leaving it in the hands of a third-party provider. You have to pick the solution that is best suited for your business.
Ecommerce Warehouse Management Systems
For ecommerce merchants, effective warehouse practices need to include safely and securely storing stock, tracking items as they arrive and keeping a log of inventory. Maybe you’re thinking it’s time to upgrade your storage options and are wondering what is involved in ecommerce warehouse management? As your business continues to grow, outsourcing your warehousing might be a good way to go.
Daily warehouse operations can include but are not limited to:
- Managing inventory and keeping stock secure
- Managing equipment
- Training and managing staff
- Upholding health and safety practices
- Maintaining relationships with shipping carriers and clients
- Anticipating demand for stock and labour
- Organising licensing and certification
- Logging inbound and outbound shipments
Managing Inventory In-House
Many businesses, particularly ones that operate on a smaller scale, try to keep their ecommerce warehouse management in-house, and there might be a number of reasons for doing so.
If your e-commerce business operates from home, then it seems sensible to store your products on-site, at least in the beginning. You’re able to have greater control over your stock, and be able to pack and ship orders directly and receive deliveries easily. But as your business grows, you might need to consider alternative storage options and scale operations in order to accommodate this.
Of course, another major reason why small businesses especially end up trying to manage their inventory in-house is that warehousing can be costly, so you’ll need to evaluate whether this expense will be worth it in the long run.
Common Warehouse Management Problems
But what happens when you don’t effectively manage your ecommerce warehousing? If you don’t have the proper or appropriate inventory management systems in place, things can quickly get out of hand.
Inventory can get lost – If you don’t have an ecommerce warehouse management system in place to keep an eye on products and where they get stored, things can get lost or go missing, which is one of the top reasons for lost revenue for businesses.
Wrong products get shipped – Another reason why you should be keeping track of your inventory is that not only can things get lost but you can also end up shipping the wrong item to your customers. If this happens, you might potentially lose customers and prevent people from remaining loyal to your brand.
Over-purchasing inventory or stock-outs – Being strategic with your warehouse management means that you are better able to anticipate how much stock you have and recognise trends. If you order too little inventory for a popular item then this could result in items being out of stock. On the other hand, if you order too much of a product and it doesn’t sell well, you could be left with too much inventory taking up valuable space.
Running out of storage space – This is a common problem that small businesses encounter when they are operating from home, as their garage or spare bedroom isn’t big enough to hold and store their inventory.
There are a number of reasons why you should consider streamlining your e-commerce warehouse management.