How to transition from a B2B to B2C warehouse

Due to the rise of eCommerce, many warehouse owners are making the transition from a business-to-business (B2B) to a business-to-consumer (B2C) operation. The challenge they face is how to smoothly move from serving business customers to individual consumers.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the expansion of eCommerce. As a result, several high street garment retailers, such as Joules and Crew Clothing, have expanded their online operations.

An increase in online operations faces similar challenges to moving from a B2B to B2C operation. Here are some key points that should be considered when making either of these changes:

Customer expectations

One of the most significant differences in dealing with individual customers is their delivery expectations. A business that places an order for a palette load or more of goods may be happy to wait a few days for delivery and are satisfied if the warehouse takes a day or two to process the order. Consumers, however, expect fast delivery, preferably by the next day. Amazon has pioneered next-day and even same-day delivery. To compete with such companies, a warehouse has to process orders within a few hours of receiving them and offer a next-day delivery service.

Order volumes

A warehouse that handles large orders for businesses, when it moves to process online orders for customers, will see its order volumes increase, perhaps from a hundred or so a day to many thousands. This will require new warehouse management system software and more staff. Extra packaging stations will be required and dispatch areas should be reorganised.

The business should negotiate new delivery contracts with courier services that specialise in next-day delivery of small parcels and packages.

Size

B2B orders may range from a single large box to a pallet load. Individual orders, on the other hand, will tend to be small boxes. To handle many small items, specialist packing stations are needed that allow easy access to packing equipment, boxes, tape dispensers, label printers and other items that are required to pack many orders every hour.

Returns

Consumers are used to returning items that are not suitable, do not meet their high expectations or do not fit. Businesses should expect a much higher percentage of returns from online orders than from business orders or items bought in retail shops.

Space and equipment

To make the move from B2B to B2C, warehouse space and equipment needs to be modified, and the need for additional staff means more picking trolleys and packing stations. There will likely need to be changes in how items are stored, with high-demand items being stored nearer to packing stations to reduce average picking journey times.

Talk to us

If you’re changing from mainly a B2B operation to a B2C one, or you’re expanding your online offerings, talk to us at Steely Products for advice on the most suitable warehouse equipment for your business. From shelving, picking trolleys and packing stations to specialist storage solutions, we can supply the equipment you need.

The solution for transitioning to a B2C warehouse starts with a conversation with Steely. Call us or use the contact form below.

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    Posted by Katrina
    21st May 2021
    General

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