What Is an eCommerce Warehouse? 5 Best Practices
Do you sell your products or services through your own eCommerce website? If so, where do you keep all your products? Do you just re-stock based on customer demand? Or do you forecast future targets and keep all your inventory in your basement?
Maybe you already have a storage space or warehouse that you use, but you have outgrown it. Whatever it is, you need somewhere to store your inventory before you sell them online. eCommerce warehousing is the best place to manage your inventory.
eCommerce warehouses are a type of warehouse to store your inventory safely and securely and track everything that you have in stock. Plus, you can monitor the movement of inventory and keep track of where it goes.
As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate already. And managing an eCommerce warehouse is a whole job on its own. The good news? You have some options to help make your life easier while still staying on top of all your other responsibilities.
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
What Is an eCommerce Warehouse?
An eCommerce warehouse is a place where you would store physical inventory before it’s sold online to a customer. It works in the same way as a regular warehouse in any industry. The only real difference is that you most likely don’t have a physical store, but rather an eCommerce website.
The warehouses are designed to safely and securely store all of your products. You can also monitor and track all of the items that are sold, where they are currently located and when they arrived to the customer. You can also receive actionable insights into your inventory levels at any given time and how long you have had a product in stock.
Different Types of eCommerce Warehouses
Most eCommerce warehouses will offer the same level of functionality, but there could be one that suits your business better. Here is a list of some of the different types of eCommerce warehouses.
- Private warehouse
- Public warehouse
- Government-owned warehouse
- Fulfillment center
- Smart warehouse
- Distribution center
- Cooperative warehouse
- Consolidated warehouse
5 Best Practices for Setting up an Ecommerce Warehouse
There’s a lot that will go into setting up an eCommerce business warehouse that provides you with the functions and capabilities that you need. Here are 5 best practices to help you get there depending on your business model.
1. Determine How Much Warehouse Space You Need
Are you going to need a huge traditional warehouse or just a simple storage space? Knowing exactly how much space you will need will avoid the possibility of having to move or expand in the future. You need to have enough space to store a comfortable level of inventory in your warehouse location. Plus, you need ample space to receive inventory and ship purchased products to customers.
2. Figure Out the Essential Warehouse Equipment
Is everything going to get done by hand? Maybe that’s the case. But chances are you are going to require some equipment to help maximize space and increase efficiency. You will have improved product visibility and better inventory control.
Things like storage equipment, material handling equipment and packing and shipping equipment. Depending on your fulfillment strategy, barcode makers could be worth considering.
3. Establish Guidelines for the Warehouse
Your employees need to know what to do otherwise it will be a complete free-for-all in your warehouse. Establishing certain policies and guidelines for employees to follow allows them to understand.
You will also need to put in place certain safety procedures and quality control standards. The policies and guidelines that you develop will set the stage for training and accommodation for your employees. They will set the standard for your operating processes.
4. Provide Staff with Adequate Training
Making sure your employees are properly trained and equipped with the skills they need will benefit your operations. It’s not just about knowledge but giving employees the right training to be able to be as productive and efficient as possible.
There will be less downtime, minimal mistakes and a better and safer working environment. Plus, when employees know what they're doing it can contribute to a positive customer experience.
5. Use the Right Warehouse Management Software
You can put all the details for your warehouse in place and try and get back to business as usual. But there are a thousand little things to monitor and keep track of. Using warehouse management software will not only save you a ton of time but money as well.
There is a long list of management software out there to choose from that each brings different features and capabilities. That means that there will definitely be one that will work perfectly for your needs. Workflow management is optimized and you can receive detailed reports highlighting different KPIs.
Not having an efficient way to fill your eCommerce orders can significantly slow business growth. Running an eCommerce store means that meeting customer expectations is paramount for success. So if a customer receives a product they purchased that’s not packaged properly or never arrived, it can negatively affect your business.
Using an eCommerce warehouse will allow you to be able to fulfill orders efficiently and with fewer mistakes. And combining your warehouse with a warehouse management software system will only benefit you more. Operations will become streamlined and you will be able to handle any changes in customer demand.
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