With around 95% of all citizens having access to the internet, it is perhaps no surprise that online shopping is still on the rise in the UK. Greater choice, the ability to compare prices quickly and easily, and a wealth of discount deals to be had are all encouraging consumers to use the internet for their latest purchases.
A report by the Ecommerce Foundation estimates that B2C ecommerce turnover will hit almost £15.7 billion during 2019, up around £2 billion from last year. Despite 93% of online shoppers claiming to also shop in store, the report found 16.4% of all retail sales are now coming from the internet, up from 14.7% in 2016.
But with this growth in demand comes a weight of consumer expectation. Amazon – favoured by a staggering 91% of UK online shoppers – has set the bar high on this one with its ability to offer same or next day delivery, and this is fast being considered as essential for today’s consumers. Alongside this, retailers must balance shoppers’ continuing concerns about receiving wrong or damaged items. The weight of expectation is fast being shared with third-party logistics operators, who face the serious challenge of attempting to bridge the gap between expectation and reality.
If ecommerce retailers can offer the right products, at the right price, with the right consumer experience, the potential for them to expand their share of the market is huge. And so, they demand ever more challenging order patterns, increased volume, faster delivery and narrower margins from warehouse managers, while expecting the same levels of quality management in terms of accuracy and care taken to protect products from damage.
The problem is that, despite unprecedented demand and an obvious need for more warehouse space to help meet it, that space just isn’t forthcoming. A recent UK Warehousing Association report into the size and make-up of the UK warehousing sector found that the East Midlands currently has around 78 million sq ft of warehousing space, dominated chiefly by third-party logistics operators, transport and retail. But here, as across the UK, there is a problem with a lack of free space on the market and a lack of new warehouse schemes, thanks in part to Government pressure on local authorities to build new homes instead. The report found market supply was at 21.9 million sq ft, down from 94 million sq ft 10 years ago. To compound the problem, the majority (63%) of what is available is under 200,000 sq ft, when the average size of occupied warehouses in recent years has been 273,000 sq ft.
BRIDGING THE GAP
So, how can warehouse managers find that extra warehouse space that they need to help them meet the ever-increasing demand from the retail and other sectors? Well, the answer isn’t necessarily about obtaining more space, but more about using the space they do have more efficiently. This is where PALLITE™ comes in.
Our award-winning PALLITE™ PIX™ range of flexible warehouse storage and shelving solutions combines multiple pick-faces into one storage unit in a single pallet location at ground level, freeing up previously unused warehouse space and speeding up how quickly orders can be picked, packed and shipped to their destinations. Store different SKUs in close proximity without compromising ease of picking, thanks to moveable dividers that allow you to fit our storage around your products, rather than the other way around. Easily cater for awkward or unusually-shaped items without fear of damaging them, and reduce the risk of pick errors by adding labels in the dedicated spaces provided.
Meet challenging customer demands by reducing walk sequences and pick times, speeding up how quickly you can process, pack and ship orders. Use the space you free up to store more product for your customers, take on new business or provide other value-added processing services. Manage periods of lower demand by easily dismantling your PALLITE™ PIX™ units and storing them flat-packed when not required. Build them again in seconds when things pick up, without the need for tools.