During the coronavirus pandemic, people were buying online more than ever — forcing producers to scramble for additional warehouse capacity and companies to rethink supply chains. This shift looks here to stay for the foreseeable future. So, if you’re an e-commerce business, or perhaps you started an e-commerce business during the lockdowns and are looking at ways to keep your warehouse or storage facility organised, here are a few tips to help keep things flowing smoothly.

Despite the warehousing boom, some problems never change: keeping an organised warehouse and a streamlined product distribution system being the main priorities. No matter what your business sells or how it handles transactions online, there will always be the need to keep a well-organised warehouse and product distribution system.

Let’s start at the beginning:

If your e-commerce business operates from home, it makes sense to store your products here, too, at the beginning. You can keep an eye on your stock, pack and ship orders right from home, and receive new inventory right to your front door. However, as your order volume increases, so should your on-hand stock — however, you may find yourself surrounded by boxes.

As your business grows, you may consider e-commerce warehousing; however, the cost can be more than it’s worth, especially if you want complete hands-on control over your warehouse. Leasing or purchasing warehouse space can be expensive. If you sell a wide variety of products, you need more storage space, making it even more pricey. However, there is another option.

Many small businesses may not realise that warehousing is an option for their online stores. Suppose your business is too small to buy or lease an e-commerce warehouse. In that case, there are alternatives to keeping inventory in the garage or living room, such as warehousing through a third-party service—options like this do exist for smaller players and not just retail giants.

Should you feel that warehousing is for you, then there certainly are some benefits:

Benefits of warehousing your e-commerce products

Warehousing can benefit e-commerce businesses of all sizes. If you’ve not considered warehousing before, we believe the best benefits of using external warehousing for your products are:

Ship to your customers faster

Online shoppers expect to receive their orders quickly and affordably every time they shop online. So, when choosing where to store your inventory, consider distributing it to multiple warehouses across the country. Helping place your inventory closer to more of your customers means it takes less time (and money) for their online orders to reach them.

Better organisation of products

Let’s face it; warehouses are designed to store products. Your living room, garage, and spare room aren’t.
E-commerce warehousing can improve the accuracy of inventory tracking and prevent lost items.
With the right warehouse management system in place, this can help you track inventory turnover rates and proactively reorder inventory.

Reduced stress

Ecommerce warehousing goes way beyond shelving products; it takes the mammoth list of warehousing responsibilities off your plate, which can be a huge relief. A more organised process and knowing that your products are in good hands can make a huge difference. Leaving you to use your garage as it was intended.

Save time

Time is a precious resource, especially for those in e-commerce. Freeing up the time spent searching through piles of products or playing storage Tetris allows you to focus instead on growing your business. Often, the time savings can offset warehousing costs; after all, time is money.

Once you’ve got your warehouse/s in place, let’s look at how to store your inventory.

Use the ABC method for storing products

Unless you’re an e-tail giant, you can probably quickly identify a small portion of your inventory that sells better than the rest. Since these products will be shipped and restocked more frequently, consider using the ABC method to group your products. The A category will be for top sellers and/or anything you run out of more often, the B tier is for average or above-average sellers, and C will be for anything that doesn’t quite keep up with the first two categories. After you’ve sorted your ABC of inventory, the next is…

Arrange your picking floor by item importance

Shipping time and flexibility are crucial to keeping customers happy, especially for smaller e-commerce businesses. After sorting your products using the ABC method, consider rearranging your current warehouse storage to match this new product priority. Place the A products closest to your picking station (which we’ll get to in a second), keep the B items closer at hand, and don’t be afraid to set the C items aside for a time to keep them out of the way of the more important items. Of course, you’ll need to be careful not to make them too difficult to get to, but de-prioritising them in the face of items you’ll need more immediately will help a lot in the long term.

Set up a packing/shipping station. 

Ecommerce businesses, more than any retailer with a physical storefront, really thrive on their ability to fulfil orders promptly and receive new items without a lot of stress. Setting up a dedicated picking and shipping station near the front of the warehouse (or closest to the docking/receiving area, whichever is best for your location). Equip it with plenty of wire shelving and workstations to help your workers get their shipments picked, sorted, and ready to hit the road faster than before.

Keep everything labelled

It might sound obvious, but proper labelling and identification will go a long way towards improving productivity. Use easy to read (and easy to scan) barcode and SKU labels on the same side of every box or item in storage to help cut down on time spent trying to find, count, and/or process items when they go out on order.

Streamline the picking process

After your warehouse is organised, you will likely do whatever you can to make the picking process as painless as possible to help your workers stay productive and help your customers get their orders even faster. Keep your aisles as clean and wide as possible to allow for traffic. Consider investing in utility carts to help move products more quickly without needing to spring for the heavy stuff like a forklift (unless you deal in heavier items that require more significant equipment).

We’re confident your warehouse and product storage will be running more smoothly than before with these tips. Should you need further assistance with your warehouse storage products and layout, get in touch.

Improve the way your warehouse works

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