Updated: Mar 28
Here’s how an external warehouse service can help you.
Cross-border e-commerce is rising in popularity due to how easily merchants can sell their products to customers in different countries. But with this global reach comes many challenges. These challenges include high shipping costs, customs regulations, delivery delays, and customer returns.
One way to overcome these roadblocks is to use an external warehouse service. In today’s blog post, we’ll discuss what e-commerce warehousing is, what are the benefits of using an e-commerce warehousing service, and more. For more info, continue reading below.
What Is E-Commerce Warehousing?
E-commerce warehousing refers to the process of storing goods specifically for sale on the internet. E-commerce warehouses differ from conventional warehouses in that they’re specifically designed to handle high-volume and fast-moving orders from many channels and platforms.
Most e-commerce warehouses come with specialized equipment, software, and personnel that can perform various tasks like receiving, storing, tracking, packing, shipping, and fulfilling orders.
What Are the Types of E-Commerce Warehouses?
There are many kinds of e-commerce warehouses. Each kind caters to the different needs and preferences of online merchants. A few of the most common types include:
These are warehouses that are owned and run by the online merchant themselves. Ownership over the warehouses gives merchants complete control over their inventory management and order fulfillment processes. But the downside is that it also requires them to invest in equipment, infrastructure, labor, maintenance, and more.
Third-Party Fulfillment Providers (3PLs)
Third-party fulfillment providers are companies that offer warehousing and fulfillment services for online sellers on a contractual basis. They usually charge fees based on a range of factors. These factors may include storage space used, the number of orders processed, and more.
Although 3PLs offer greater scalability, expertise, and access to many locations, they also entail less control over branding and quality standards.
Dropshipping is a business model wherein online sellers don't keep any inventory themselves. Instead, they rely on third-party suppliers who ship products directly to the customers. This model eliminates the need for warehousing. But it comes with risks, such as low product quality, inconsistent delivery times, etc.
On-demand warehousing is a flexible option that allows online merchants to rent warehouse space and services only when they need them. This allows online merchants to save on fixed costs but may need them to pay higher variable costs.
What Is E-Commerce Warehouse Management?
E-commerce warehouse management refers to all the operations involved in running the day-to-day operations of an e-commerce warehouse. A few of the individual processes include:
Receiving. Receiving involves checking incoming shipments for accuracy, quality, and damage. It also involves updating inventory records accordingly.
Organizing. This involves arranging products in optimal places throughout the warehouse. Staff may arrange products based on factors like size, popularity, weight, seasonality, and more. Doing so facilitates easy access and efficient movement.
Product Inspection. Actual inspection of the products. The products are checked for quality, condition, and accuracy.
Scheduling Labor. This involves allocating human resources for different tasks – like packing and shipping – based on workload forecasts and productivity metrics.
Stocking. This process refers to replenishing inventory levels when they fall below specific thresholds to avoid stockouts and lost sales.
Managing Inventory. This involves watching inventory levels across many channels and platforms, optimizing inventory turnover rates and carrying costs, and avoiding under stocking or overstocking issues.
Fulfilling Orders. Fulfilling orders involves picking products from storage locations according to customer orders and packing them securely with appropriate packaging materials and labels.
Shipping Orders. This process involves sending out products to customers using various methods, tracking shipments, and providing delivery updates.
What Are the Benefits of Using an External E-Commerce Warehouse?
Using an external e-commerce warehouse service can provide many benefits to cross-border sellers. A few of the benefits are:
Reduced Shipping Costs and Times
External e-commerce warehouses usually have several warehouses across the globe. This allows you to store inventory closer to your customers. So, you’ll end up saving on international shipping fees and avoid delivery delays caused by customs inspections and other factors.
Improved Customer Service
By outsourcing your warehousing and fulfillment tasks to a professional third-party provider, you can make sure that your orders are processed securely and accurately.
You can also provide better customer service by offering convenient returns, exchanges, and refunds – all without having to deal with the trouble of cross-border returns yourself.
Scalability and Flexibility
By partnering with an external e-commerce warehouse provider, you can scale your inventory up or down depending on demand without having to worry about space constraints and fixed costs. Moreover, you can access many markets, channels, and platforms without investing in many warehouses yourself.
Focus On Growth
By allowing an external provider to handle all your warehousing and fulfillment tasks, you can free up your time and resources to focus on other parts of your business, like marketing, product development, and branding.
Cross-border e-commerce is a fantastic opportunity for online sellers to expand their customer base and grow their business. But despite all its benefits, it also comes with many challenges that need careful planning and execution to overcome.
One of the most important aspects of cross-border e-commerce is warehousing and fulfillment. By using an external e-commerce warehouse service, you can enjoy lots of benefits like reduced shipping times, improved customer satisfaction, scalability, flexibility, and more.
Return Helper is an end-to-end return management solution that can optimize your return process and aftermarket activities. As an official partner of Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and OnBuy.com, we integrate with the major marketplaces and e-commerce platforms to enable a seamless return experience for buyers and sellers.
One of our primary services is our warehouse service which can help you handle your cross-border returns efficiently and effectively. To learn more about how Return Helper's warehouse service can optimize your cross-border returns, don't hesitate to contact us today for a free quote！