If your warehouse operations weren’t e-commerce ready before, chances are you’re scrambling to make sure they are now. The COVID-19 pandemic has given a huge boost to the already rising rates of e-commerce sales, which reached $3.53 trillion worldwide in 2019, according to Statista.
Growth projections vary, but even conservative estimates predict e-commerce sales in the U.S. and other mature economies will leap from a pre-pandemic rate of 3-4% of total sales, depending on the vertical, to more than 20% by 2025.
Whatever turns out to be the medium-term course of the virus, it seems consumer habits will have been permanently changed by life during lockdown. The convenience of online ordering is rapidly winning against the desire of consumers to see and touch products. In part, this is because of the speed of fulfillment — in all but the most remote areas, you can order most things one day and receive them 24-48 hours later.
The rise in popularity of e-commerce is also due to the fact that returns have become both easy (for the consumer, at least) and nearly gratis. In other words, the rise in e-commerce, accelerated by safety concerns arising from the pandemic, will be sustained by more rapid fulfillment and easier returns. At this point, in all but the most rarefied verticals, you’re either committed to e-commerce, or you best look for another line of business. In order to stay in the game without losing already razor-thin profit margins, it’s absolutely essential to get your warehouse operations in order.
In fact, you’d be well-advised to rethink what a warehouse does, as its functions evolve toward e-fulfillment operations.
Read this Special Report to find out more.