As obvious as it may sound, warehousing is one of the most crucial facets of running and managing an ecommerce business. Regardless of the size of your business, you will always need to store your products safely and securely. Apparently, this is what ecommerce warehousing entails.
In this comprehensive guide, we will go over the fundamentals and specifics of warehousing and explain why it is beneficial for your online store.
What is eCommerce Warehousing?
In the simplest terms, it refers to the process of storing, managing, and organizing products that are intended for online sales. It involves operations like storage, distribution, inventory management, and logistics. Today's smart warehouses can perform the functions of both a distribution center and a fulfillment center. While some e-commerce warehouses are owned and run by the retailers, others are under the supervision of 3PLs, or third-party logistics and e-commerce fulfillment partners.
The market for e-commerce has gained enormous popularity in India, and it is only expected to grow in the foreseeable future. For instance, warehouse in Chennai
, the online shopping industry is flourishing, driving demand for e-commerce warehouses in the city. The situation is pretty similar in other metropolitan areas.
What are the Elements of a Warehouse?
Warehouses have specialized elements (like technologies, systems, applications, equipment, and infrastructure) that ensure efficient storage as well as distribution of products to potential customers.
Let's examine the distinct elements of a storage facility:
- Numerous racks and shelves to provide optimal product storage.
- Security measures to assure that inventory is stored safely.
- A temperature-controlled or climate-controlled storage system for products like food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and other products that are temperature-sensitive.
- An Inventory management system that provides the seller with information about the whereabouts of his products (where they are stored, when they left the facility for shipping.)
- Equipment, such as forklifts, pallet jacks, conveyor belts, etc.
What is Warehouse Management?
The administration of all activities and procedures involved in operating a warehouse is referred to as warehouse management. It is an essential component of ecommerce fulfillment. If done correctly, it can help your business achieve extraordinary results.
In the most inclusive sense, it includes day-to-day warehousing operations or tasks like:
- Taking all the necessary precautions for safety and security when storing the inventory.
- Keeping track of each SKU's bin, shelf, and/or pallet locations to achieve optimal warehousing slotting.
- Conducting inventory audits.
- Keeping track of stock levels.
- Demand Forcasting.
- Obtaining licences and certifications.
- Scaling up warehousing operations as the business grows.
- Track all daily shipments, both inbound and outbound.
- And a lot more.
While businesses are developing innovative strategies to increase customer satisfaction, the basic tenets are sometimes overlooked. A consumer is likely to switch to a different supplier if he cannot get the products he needs or finds the ordering process to be challenging. Effective warehouse management is then necessary in this situation.
Let's grasp this concept with the help of an instance: If you are thinking of setting up an e-commerce warehouse in Hyderabad
, you will need to find a good warehousing solution. There are many options available, but not all of them are equal. You will need to find a warehouse that is large enough to store your products, has a good location, has access to the latest technologies, and is affordable. With the help of a robust and efficient warehouse management system
, one can easily manage storage, distribution, logistics, and order fulfillment operations. It also helps in providing visibility and transparency into supply chain operations and real-time information and insights to make more informed decisions.
Using a Third Party Logistics (3PL) Partner for Storage and Logistics Needs:
You can optimize and significantly improve your supply chain by partnering with a third-party logistics service provider for your warehousing requirements. They automate and streamline your logistics processes, such as storage and distribution, inventory management, and order fulfillment.
Now that we have covered the fundamentals, let's look at the advantages of outsourcing eCommerce warehousing and fulfillment operations to a third-party logistics provider.
Key Benefits of eCommerce Warehousing
One of the most significant benefits you get with a 3PL provider is efficient inventory management. This includes monitoring inventory levels, ordering and replenishing products, and demand forecasting. They also provide an integrated inventory management software to speed up and automate the procedure. By observing trends and past patterns, the software enables you to plan for varying levels of demand and sales.
- Easy and Efficient Integration
Your online store platform can be easily integrated with a WMS to keep records of all of your inbound and outbound inventory and to ensure that everything is operating efficiently and is in sync. Integrating your online store with a WMS allows you to streamline operations.
You can automate daily tasks that include:
- Notifying customers of order updates and shipments.
- Ordering of extra supplies to prevent out-of-stock situations.
- Keeping track of inventory across several sales channels.
- Focus on Your Core Business
eCommerce warehousing involves so much more than having space to store your products. It involves taking care of packaging, shipping, monitoring stock levels, placing new orders, and a whole lot more. When you outsource it all to a 3PL, you can concentrate on other areas of your business, such as finances, marketing, and customer service.
A 3PL partner can scale operations as your business grows. As your online store grows and the number of orders rises, you will need more resources, personnel, and space to keep your inventory and manage fulfillment. When you work with a 3PL, you are certain of having space to grow both in a figurative and literal sense.
If you are just getting started in ecommerce, warehousing can seem like a daunting task. But with a little planning, and knowledge it can be a breeze. Warehousing could be overlooked in the zeal of running an online business. But keep in mind that efficient inventory and warehouse management can help you achieve excellent results while saving money and time. Keep the pointers discussed above in mind to grow your business.