Online shopping trend is getting bigger following the trend of urban consumers, as discussed in our previous article. Among 1 billion people in the world, about 60 percent are going to live in an urban environment in 2030, implying that there will be a significant increase in online shopping. And with the increasing volumes of online purchases, businesses, especially eCommerce, should showcase their ability to source products from across the globe. Yet, the increase of goods demanded by consumers might create trouble for eCommerce, instead.
Generally, online store owners won’t have a bulleted list in mind about consumer’s purchasing behaviour. Consequently, they often make use of their garages, living rooms, and basements – stacked their house from floor to ceiling with products. These warehouse “solutions” might not be practical enough when businesses growing constantly, resulting in trouble space for goods inventory management.
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What to do, then?
For small businesses, eCommerce warehousing can cost a lot, especially if you want full hands-on control over your warehouse. On the other hand, purchasing or renting a warehouse space can be expensive. So, while you grow your eCommerce, here are tips to maximise your warehouse space.
- Use 3PL Warehouse
One of the easiest and most efficient ways is by partnering with a 3PL. Working with a 3PL allows you to automate and manage all of your eCommerce logistics processes through one reliable partner, including warehousing, inventory management, and order fulfilment whilst being cost-effective in your warehouse strategy, said Steve Syfan, executive vice president of Syfan Logistics, in an interview. You can also easily track your order while shipping on major marketplaces. And more importantly, 3PL allows you to have a stress-free strategy due to eCommerce warehousing that goes beyond shelving products.
- Plot your warehouse
For small eCommerce, hiring 3PL might cost a great deal of money. As your business is barely born, it might be a burden to get a trusted and reliable partner. Thus, you can start with warehouse starting point by utilising the current layout in your house or garage. This plot, however, should come in handy by understanding the flow of your eCommerce business. For instance, which products are highly demanded in this season or which products you should put in front and back of your garage in order to mitigate inbound and outbound product flow.
- Use vertical space or change the width of your aisle
One thing for sure, arranging goods in vertical order is so efficient when it comes to sorting. Even big commerce do vertical line plot for their warehouse system. You can also change or leverage the width of your aisle. Yet, do pay attention to practicality and safety such as how much cubic meters of vertical should you use or how your design impact your products flow once again.
- Invest in warehouse management software
Last but not least, in order to reduce the risk of inventory problem, you can invest in a warehouse management system (WMS). WMS will be helpful to control your little warehouse operations from the time goods or materials enter your warehouse until they move out. Margaret Rouse as in Search ERP cited that implementing WMS can help businesses reduce labour costs, improve inventory accuracy, improve flexibility and responsiveness, decrease errors in picking and shipping goods, as well as improve customer service. WMS can also automate your order fulfilment, resulting in an agile small eCommerce warehouse system.
Read also: 3 Systems to Maximise Order Fulfillment