A Guest Post by Cory Levins
Although the warehousing industry has been struggling to attract enough employees, part of this problem has to do with the industry’s rapid growth over the last decade. Since the rise of online shopping–and even social media shopping–warehouses have been busier than ever, using every resource available to refine and improve their process. eCommerce is now one of the largest industries in the entire world, generating billions of dollars across the world. Without an efficient warehousing system, it would be impossible to fulfill all of these orders and maintain the steady growth we’ve seen over the years. But, because the eCommerce industry is relatively new, it’s susceptible to many changes, which is why it’s so important to stay on top of the latest trends. Read on to learn more about why you should be using eco-friendly packaging and how social media affects logistics operations.
Growth as a Result of eCommerce
Compared to other industries, the warehousing sector has experienced a huge surge in growth, thanks to the prevalence of eCommerce. Online shopping has completely revolutionized the way that we make purchases, connecting people on a global scale and allowing others to create new business ventures with unique products. Because eCommerce is only continuing to grow and new avenues of shopping and digital payments are popping up, it’s safe to assume that the warehousing sector will also continue to grow. This is important to remember if you work within the industry as you’ll need to plan for future growth.
Increase in Dropshipping
As eCommerce becomes more popular, so does the shipping fulfillment option known as dropshipping. This method is much more convenient for many business owners, particularly for new or small business operations. Traditionally, businesses would fulfill their own orders, which also requires them to purchase and manage their stock, or they use third-party companies that will store and ship orders. With either one of these methods, retailers are still required to purchase their inventory outright. This can be a big risk because some of the stock may not sell, leaving you with a pile of products that are taking up space and not bringing in anymore. In fact, this dead stock usually leads to losing money.
With dropshipping, a third-party wholesaler takes on the responsibility of storing stock and sending out orders, but you are not required to buy products beforehand. With drop shipping, you don’t have to purchase any items until a customer places an order with your company, eliminating the potential for dead stock and saving you money in the long run.
Delivery Time Is Essential to Success
Amazon has forever altered consumers’ expectations and requirements for shipping since introducing its two-day shipping policy for Prime members. Because Amazon has more than 100 million subscribers, a majority of people who participate in eCommerce have become accustomed to this quick turnaround and become frustrated with other companies when they are not able to deliver as quickly. This doesn’t necessarily mean that every warehouse and eCommerce company needs to implement a two-day shipping policy, but it is important to consider how quickly you can send items to keep customers happy. Unexpected shipping costs are a major factor in cart abandonment rates–but expected delivery time also plays a role in this, so make sure that you are giving consumers a reasonably speedy delivery time.
Eco-Friendly Packaging Is Increasingly Important
Because the world has become more conscious about how we, as humans, are impacting the environment, it’s important to also consider how our warehouses and businesses are contributing to the problem. With such a global network of eCommerce companies, the industry is responsible for creating a great deal of waste. Try to curb this as much as possible by providing eco-friendly packaging materials. This will help your clients as it demonstrates a sense of environmental concern and greatly helps to reduce your warehouse’s impact on the environment.
Social Media Shopping Impacts the Number of Returns
Although eCommerce has been around for a while now, social media commerce is an entirely new beast that has only been introduced in the last few years. Social media commerce uses data from social media sites to pinpoint the exact types of products individuals might be interested in and displays ads specifically to them. This new way of advertising has been successful, but it relies heavily on shoppers making impulse decisions because of the nature of the ad. This affects warehouses because the more frequently people are impulse-buying items, the more likely they are to regret it and end up returning the item. For warehouses, this means you need to carefully consider your reverse logistics procedures to easily deal with the increasing return rate.
Warehouse Management Systems Are Important
Everything is going digital these days, and that includes warehouse management systems (WMS). If you’re not already using one of these programs, you should be. Manually tracking all of the day-to-day operations that go into running a warehouse can be overwhelming and disorganized. These programs are relatively affordable and can keep all types of important information in one easily accessible place. When using a WMS, you are reducing the chance that an error will be made, making your operation more efficient. Today’s warehouse management systems have the ability to track and organize a huge range of your warehouse operations, allowing you the freedom to track and organize everything at the tips of your fingers.
Stay on Top of Trends to Ensure Your Success
In order to continue succeeding within the warehouse industry, you need to be aware of the trends and research that’s taking place within the sector. You can also use current trends to predict how the industry will change over time and give you a better sense of how to stay ahead of the trends. Right now, speedy delivery times and an increase in dropshipping methods are two of the most important trends to consider, but you should also be implementing strategies–like offering eco-friendly packaging–to stay up-to-date with the emphasis on sustainability.