Lead Forensics

Ecommerce creates high demand for micro-fulfilment centres

During the coronavirus lockdowns, there has been a rapid increase in online sales, and this has led to the need for micro-fulfilment centres and a solution to the problem of packaging waste.

Research by EPiServer found that 38% of UK consumers buy online at least once a week. For retailers to compete in the crowded online market, they need to understand their customers’ needs. One major demand from customers is quick and accurate deliveries.

To meet this demand, micro-fulfilment centres have been established in urban areas that can deliver high-demand items, often within hours of being ordered. Some retailers with stores in retail estates near major population centres have created micro-warehouses at the back of their stores.

Micro-fulfilment centres must be equipped with well-designed storage trolleys and other equipment to store, pick and pack order items. Automation and robots can help, but many micro-fulfilment centres still rely on human pickers and packers. They are often assisted by advanced warehouse management system software that monitors the whole system, from orders arriving to picking, packing and delivery.

As online sales have grown, the amount of packaging that is disposed of has risen. One solution that some micro-fulfilment centres are using is reusable crates that can hold orders from several customers. At the delivery destination, the order is removed from the crate, which is then returned to the warehouse. This saves on both packaging costs and waste.

After the pandemic is over, many consumers will continue to buy online. Retailers should, therefore, ensure they have the necessary equipment and space to deal with this demand.

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