Editor’s Note: Today’s blog is by Carl Turner who is a freelance writer in the distribution field. Carl is discussing with us how small businesses can save with eCommerce distribution.
The nature of product distribution has changed dramatically over the past decade, due in large part to the way that eCommerce companies work. In the past, retail businesses large and small operated by receiving and storing large shipments of product from distributors or manufacturers, which were then put out on store shelves for purchase. Today, the typical eCommerce business’ distribution center acts as the logistical portion of the store, while the eCommerce business’ website serves as the frontend where consumers can interact with the product selection.
This model has proved to be a boon for small businesses, which can run their stores with inexpensive eCommerce software and smaller warehouses, cutting down on real estate costs and other expenses. Let’s take a closer look at this contemporary business model.
Today’s eCommerce distribution businesses are dynamic and efficient entities. In the past, large shipments would sit in warehouses and then they were shipped out in bulk when they were needed. With the advent of powerful Internet and information technologies, businesses were able to ship products directly to customers via online stores. This led to the evolution of distribution centers in which products were split up individually, sorted in warehouses before being shipped to their final destinations.
Solutions for Small Businesses with eCommerce Distribution
This new business model drove the demand for dynamic and complex warehouse systems, which are better managed by software that can coordinate the rapid movement of product. Warehouse management systems (WMS) are especially popular for this purpose, which can help business owners and managers keep track of inventory and set up shipment flows that are optimized for efficiency.
eCommerce distributors and retailers then have to interact with their customers, which usually involves building convenient online stores to showcase inventory and facilitate purchases. According to Business News Daily, Shopify is one of the best eCommerce systems for small businesses due to its comprehensive functions, usability, and affordability. Some smaller businesses can even run all of their operations through platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento. However, if you have a relatively sophisticated distribution center, it is a good idea to invest in a WMS. Plus, many warehouse systems offer eCommerce software integration, so you can keep everything coordinated and running smooth.
Warehouse management systems and eCommerce software are excellent solutions for small companies looking to run a lean eCommerce distribution business. Internet and information technologies such as these have played a large part in driving the evolution of distribution, leading to ever more efficient, creative, and sophisticated logistical solutions. A niche business like a women’s fashion boutique or an online sport collectible supplier can enjoy considerable success in the market thanks to the logistical advances of distribution centers and software. This is also the case for many other types of small business. The coming decade looks promising for eCommerce businesses of all sizes.