Businesses which sell physical products of any kind need to have warehouses where the goods can be stored for inventory and distribution purposes. The advent of E-commerce has led to massive changes in warehousing because the landscape of ordering has changed and aspects such as remote warehousing have been introduced. As every seller rushes to make sure they are the ones providing that two-day delivery, it is becoming really important for businesses to rethink their strategies and come up with warehousing models which suit the changing needs of their customers. Here are some of the changes brought about by E-commerce and why they are good for business.
Introduction of better technology and software
Most of the functions that were carried out by warehousing experts in the past were manual. This meant that everything from recording the inventory and making sure all processes were flowing was done by hand. The advent of ecommerce has brought in warehousing software which has made organization of goods highly sophisticated. Today, it is possible to have a storefront which indicates the goods which are available, the quantity remaining, the colors and sizes and all other important qualities. When a customer shops for a number of units of a particular item, the inventory updates itself automatically, which means that no one needs to keep going back to the physical warehouse to cross check and make ascertain the presence of certain items. These advanced software and applications are in place because the traditional pen and paper methods are just not as effective as they used to be.
The need for proper employee training
In the past, employees who worked in warehouses were allowed to just learn on the job. This included lots of instances of trial and error. Online business means that you are reaching a wider audience and ultimately, this translates into more business. If you do not train your employees to handle large volumes of customers, you will have to spend a lot of time explaining to different customers why their orders are late of why they received the wrong item. The training which is being offered to warehousing personnel focuses on equipping them with the skills that they need to handle large volumes of business. These include being able to use technology and new software to their advantage and also paying a lot of attention to details. By the end of the process, it is the customer who benefits from the improvements.
Innovative equipment to handle material
As mentioned, venturing into online business models means that you get large volumes of orders coming your way. This translates to having to store more pieces of the items in the warehouse than before, which calls for some serious improvements in storage techniques and organization. It also means that the equipment which was previously used to handle heavy loads is getting replaced by newer and more efficient equipment. These are all changes which are happening to ensure that products are safely moved from one level of the building to the next, and that as little damage as possible happens to the products in the process. Some of the machinery which has replaced human labor here includes elevators and spiral conveyors. All these are seen to be an improvement on manual employee labor. For instance, think about the introduction of the vertical reciprocating conveyor. This tool is much better and more economical than the regular freight elevators. They also leave the smallest footprint, which makes them the most efficient machines in the business.
Better customer relations and simpler business models
When the shopping had to be done physically, you would have to deal with retailers most of the time. However, ecommerce means that even the producer can go directly to the consumer, which gives them the opportunity to make a lot of extra cash. It also means that the way you handle the customers shopping experience from the moment that they log into your shop to the time when they get the physical goods, determines whether you will convert them into a lover of your brand. Brands are therefore finding themselves with the rare opportunity to change their customer service to meet the growing need for excellent customer service from the brands which they buy from. CRM tools are one of the ways that warehousing and supply chain management is improving. There is also the use of social media as a customer service tool. When properly moderated, it can even replace that missing feeling that customers get when they have to shop online. When the person in charge of the warehouse gets this aspect right, they are likely to have an easy time dealing with the entire e-commerce process.
Ecommerce is here to stay and with time, it might actually overtake the need to have physical stores. However, the only thing that will probably never change is the need for warehouses to store physical goods. People who are investing in ecommerce therefore need to ensure that they have mapped the geographical location of their customers and when they are setting up the warehouses they do it in places which are easy to access for the customers. It is also crucial to ensure that whatever changes happen are met with tools and software which has the ability to handle growing stocks. The software also needs to have the capacity to keep track of aspects such as new product numbers and when all these issues are handled properly, warehousing and ecommerce will never be a headache to a shop owner or manager.