How the Increase in E-Commerce is Changing Warehouses

In the past, warehouses were heavily reliant upon distributing goods directly to retailers. Large shipments would be taken from industrial shelves, loaded across dock levelers into trucks and taken to retail stores. Now, warehouses have a new set of orders to fulfil: those coming directly from consumers via e-commerce sales.

Over the years, e-commerce has risen from being a mere alternative to traditional shopping to a viable competitor for brick-and-mortar stores.

The Proof is in the Numbers

This year’s’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales virtually speak for themselves. While Black Friday sales at retail stores across the country dropped by 10 percent, e-commerce sales dominated the weekend by taking in more than 11 billion dollars from Friday to Monday. This is a 15 percent increase over last year, Time reports.

When considering total e-commerce sales, Amazon led the way with 35.7 percent of the entire online market. The closest store behind the retail giant was Best Buy, coming in with a mere 8.23 percent of total online sales.

So how does this affect the warehousing industry? We will take a look at many of the effects that are already being felt across the country.

It’s Making Them Taller

We’ve already seen standard warehouse heights increase from 32 to roughly 36 feet, but as online sales force distributors to hold more stock (rather than ship it directly to retail stores), that number is set to increase again over the next few years.

Even as of writing this piece, construction of a new warehouse in Tracy, CA is already in motion. The warehouse, which doesn’t yet have a tenant, will have a 40 foot clearance height, well above most other modern warehouses. Not only are warehouses increasing in square footage, builders are also looking to up to the sky for storage solutions as well.

It’s Bringing Them Closer to People

While the sizing and layout of warehouses are changing, their locations are also being moved to better service customers who rely on e-commerce.

Amazon leads the way in this initiative, as the company has added more fulfillment centers to its list every year. The company currently has the capability of offering same-day shipping to cities all across the country and now has a warehouse within 20 miles of over 31 percent of the population.

Keep Up With the Times

As e-commerce puts more pressure on local warehouses, it is important to make sure that your equipment is ready to take on the increase in freight traffic. Murray Material Handling has a great price on everything from dock levelers to wire decking and shelving. Contact us today to update your warehouse.


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