Electronic-Commerce has become the core of various businesses. It has opened doors to numerous businesses leading to great competition. Speed is the mantra for survival of any ecommerce company, the longer the delivery time, the less the orders will be, and in turn less profitability. What cannot be ignored is growing competition. You have to be the best in what you are doing. To reach the pinnacle, you need to make the best use of technology and services.
One such service that is proving helpful to the e-commerce industry is Dark Store or Ecommerce fulfilment centres, or also called delivery centres.
The term dark store is not very known; it simply justifies its function. Dark stores are retail distribution outlets with strategic layouts that are used to cater only to online shopping. They are not built in a way to appear appealing to the customer but, they are built to complete the demand of the customer on time, basically a storeroom/ warehouse in your locality for faster deliveries. These are typically spaces located in cities with high demand and is converted into a local fulfilment/delivery centre. Dark stores aim to store inventory and fulfil orders as fast as possible while making the best use of space and location.
The procedure is simple as once the order gets placed, the product will be picked, packed, and billed by dark store staff. It will either get shipped or picked by the customer locally on the same day. They enable instant delivery, easy store pickups. They also follow centralised route planning to deliver maximum goods at a time. These can act as a support system for e-commerce companies working in a large geographical area.
The dark store has been in use for a couple of years by corporations. Due to the continuous shift in the demand and expectation of customer from the e-commerce industry, dark stores have witnessed a positive impact. Digitalisation has helped the growth of these e-commerce delivery centres to a great extent. Also, COVID-19 has been a partial factor contributing to the same.
E-commerce follows a distribution method known as the Hub-spoke model. In this model, the products from the centralised hub are transferred to individual dark stores using a bigger vehicle. But there are restrictions for a bigger vehicle to enter the buzzing city. Companies tend to face problems while giving fresh items or products at the peak season to the customer on time. For this reason, the want to have smaller warehouses or dark stores increases.
Generally, these dark stores are filled with products at night (considering the restrictions). Later smaller vehicles like vans/ bikes are used to deliver the goods in the standard condition. Henceforth the quality, time, and reputation are not compromised.
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The rising need for dark stores to overcome challenges:
What are the things an e-commerce firm should know before establishing/hiring a dark store?
No matter how easy the process sounds, it needs thorough logistics planning which, can be assigned to a 3pl company like StoreFresh.
Following are the factors that are to be understood before stepping into the market:
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Will there be a boost in the requirement of dark stores after the pandemic?
COVID-19 had shaken the way things used to work. Fulfilment Centres are one of the ways by which a product can easily reach the end customer.
These in-city warehouses also in turn helps maintain and reduce the covid spread as it is helping customers getting their needs at their doorsteps than moving out.
Is this just the beginning?
It is believed that the trend of dark stores/ in-city warehouses/ Fulfilment Centres has just begun. Fulfilment Centres can provide opportunities to companies/retailers by being helpful while launching new products or entering new markets. These are built to increase logistics efficiency and productivity.
This solution needs full consideration and thorough planning. If not established properly, it could either bring success or can result in failure. Entering a new area is full of risks. To avoid losses and maximise profit, hire a well-known service provider. StoreFresh is an ecommerce fulfilment service provider known for its tactics to handle legal procedure, the way through the city, the skill to negotiate with partners and experience.