The Retail Warehouse – Getting the Right Product to the Right Customer

The function of the warehouse has changed substantially for Bricks and Clicks retailers. Brick and Mortar retailers traditionally used their warehouses to receive and store their merchandise to later put it on the shelves to be sold.

Now, in the age of online retailing, the role of the warehouse has changed from a dusty storage facility to a dynamic customer fulfillment center.

The role of the warehouse as customer fulfillment center

A fulfillment center is a place where retailers receive incoming orders from customers, and where the products are picked, packed and dispatched. It may also be used strategically  to enhance your online business.

Amine Khechfé writing in SupplyChainDigital shares the following tactics that companies are using to grow their online success.

  • Drones in the warehouse.  Walmart suggests it may soon be using drones to inspect labels and inventory. It is a process they say usually takes about a month to complete with handheld scanners.
  • SMEs transform storefronts into warehouse space. The retailer Target are now converting some of its storefront space to mimic warehouses in order to increase sales and adapt to the changing needs of the consumer.
  • Amazon builds urban warehouses. Amazon can now cater for customers who want one- and two-hour delivery time-frames by taking their fulfillment centers into urban areas, .
  • SMEs are using predictive data to pinpoint new warehouse locations. Predictive technology allows small businesses to meet consumer expectations. It may help small businesses figure out the best place to build a new warehouse. The technology also supply shoppers with a more accurate delivery window, and identify where to stock products.

Multi-channel shoppers have high expectations. However, getting the right product, at the right customer, and quickly may allow you to stand out above your competitors.

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Image: Zappos

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