Speed Up Your Supply Chain with Micro-Warehousing
Posted December 15, 2020
These days “fast” shipping is almost more desirable than “free” shipping. Why? In our world of instant gratification, customers want their products delivered yesterday, which means even brands like Amazon can’t keep online shoppers satisfied with “2-day” delivery.
For retailers, this growing need for immediate access enhances the appeal of shopping in store. Think of it this way: when customers are faced with the option of waiting for UPS delivery vs. stopping into their local retailer to pick up their products on the same day, the choice is often the latter.
How to Accelerate the Supply Chain
The growing need to speed up the supply chain has led many retailers to convert their store locations into mini warehouses. This allows them to store inventory closer to their customers, thus speeding up delivery and in-person pick up:
“The term micro-warehousing refers to a system in which much of the fulfillment ecosystem lies outside of the main warehouse walls. It involves opening very small warehouses in places like shopping centers and strip malls, which allows for seamless rapid delivery and gives customers the option to pick up their packages locally, (My Fulfillment Company).
And by establishing retail space in the community that houses your inventory, you serve two important functions:
- Provide a physical place for customers to interface with your products
- Provide a launching point for online inventory
Let’s break this down further.
Improving the Customer “In-Person” Experience
In a previous article, we shared insights on omni-channel marketing, and how customers conduct their own online research (e.g., reviews, price analysis, descriptions, etc.) during the first phase of the shopper’s journey. The next step is interacting with your product. Using micro warehousing tactics, your products are always in-store and accessible to customers who need to experience your merchandise before making a final purchase.
What happens next is your shoppers will look up your products, find the closest retail center with the item “in-stock”, and make the short trip to your location to assess (and finally purchase) your products in person. This also provides an additional opportunity for customers to view other products and merchandise you have on-hand, which could lead to impulse sales.
Launching Point for Online Inventory
The success of micro-warehousing really depends on quality inventory management. Afterall, the whole point of this strategy is to ensure that you always have the products your customers want “on hand,” so they can get their merchandise instantly, rather than waiting for 1-2 day shipping. So, be sure to always have merchandise readily available at these retail locations and update your inventory status in real time, so shoppers know where to find your products.
Having your retail locations within miles of your target audience also grants you the opportunity to streamline shipping, thereby converting delivery into a matter of hours vs. days.
Amazon’s “same-day delivery” option is a great example of how this works. Because this popular eCommerce company is starting to open up micro-warehousing locations throughout the country, they’re able to bring more of their inventory out of the warehouses and into the communities of their loyal customers: “By instantly routing orders based on addresses, packages can be picked, packed and delivered couriers within hours,” (Modern Retail).
Is Decentralized Distribution Right for Your Business?
Everywhere, business owners are beginning to realize that they don’t need to lease a large warehouse to store their merchandise, especially when it adds another stop in your supply chain.
If you’re looking to get your products out to customers with more ease, leasing a retail space at Rosedale Center can help position you closer to your customers for faster delivery and in-store pick up!
To learn about our mall rental options, contact our leasing team today!