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The impact of e-commerce on warehouse operations

Thanks to the current modern age of digitization, people no longer have to physically go to the shops, wait in lines, walk miles to get the product they want. They can now view all the products online without having to go through all the hassle. 

They can order whatever they want no matter how far the stores are; they can get the products sitting on their couch with just a mobile in their hands. 

We all know that individuals who have never had an online shopping experience have also now discovered the ease it brings. The new online shoppers, too can’t deny the benefits and satisfaction it brings to shop online, saving both time and effort in their busy lives.  

But what’s lesser-known is the fact that the popularity and growth of the eCommerce business are constantly affecting the warehousing business today. Warehouses are not free from the influence of the popularity of the eCommerce business.  

So, in order to run a successful online business, it is imperative for you to know what the various effects of eCommerce business are on the working and operations of a warehouse. 

How is eCommerce Affecting the Warehouse Operations?

Over the years, both the eCommerce and warehousing industries have exponentially evolved. Furthermore, the warehousing fields continue to get tremendous effects and advantages from eCommerce businesses’ consistent progress.  

There’s such a huge amount of potential in eCommerce warehousing. Along these lines, it has become truly significant for organizations to put resources into eCommerce warehousing. As it can lead to the fulfillment of the current customer demands, including:  

  • Speedy deliveries 
  • Avoids over-purchasing  
  • Better association 
  • Forestalls the chance of out-of-stock circumstances  
  • Everything in one spot  

Ceaseless Operational Activities

The first of the effects of eCommerce on warehouse jobs that we should specify is the way the eCommerce market is consistently open, which has led to nonstop operational activities for most warehouses.

Order completion

 However, to tend to the flood of requests, along with the facility of same or next day delivery services, they require instant warehouse and distribution center solutions. This assists the business to operate and process the order completion in the limited time framework.

This kind of operational framework has just been applied to more giant warehouses and distribution centers, the vast majority of which are situated in industrial regions. The 24/7 pattern doesn’t quite fit in the warehouses and distribution centers based in the residential areas as they can cause a disturbance, traffic congestion, and pollution.

Automation of Warehouses

With the increasing consumer demand, many warehouses are compelled to incorporate modern technologies offering warehouse solutions and speed up warehouse automation. It is critical to stay aware of the market patterns; otherwise, the organization may lose its competitive edge.  

Following the Amazon impact, customers anticipate fast and affordable deliveries. Via automation and delivering the items to numerous warehouses, you can make quicker deliveries at lesser expenses. By adapting to the modern solution, the warehouses can operate  

  • with more brilliance 
  • in lesser time 
  • all the more proficiently.  

Why is Automation Necessary?

Experts suggest that even a number as small as only a hundred workers can cost millions for meeting the work costs. However, this expense can be enormously eliminated via automating the warehouse tasks. This also accelerates the processing with lesser chances of mistakes.  

Companies nowadays that want to have a competitive edge in the market need to evolve to keep up with the pace of the continuously developing world and be successful. They can invest in technologies that suit them the best, and the list can include technologies like 

  • Drones 
  • Artificial intelligence 
  • Order picking  
  • Order fulfillment tools, etc. 
  • Cloud technology 
  • Sensors 
  • Predictive analytics 
  • Robotics 

This has become an essential thing to do in the modern world as reports suggest that the technology adoption rate by small and big warehouses stands at 56%, which is likely to increase in the future. Sticking to the traditional warehouse approach may prove a bad idea for companies that plan to stay healthy or succeed.

Print and Apply Labeling

With the rise in the eCommerce business, millions of products are processed daily. But it seems unimaginable to effectively have all the labels applied. With AI development, you can spare your time and lessen staff’s quantity and ensure that the labels are applied quickly and dependably.  

Automated Sorting  

With the assistance of image identifying scanners, the technology can replace the dreary human work of sorting out papers and boxes. 

Self-driving Vehicles and Shipping

Self-driving vehicles are quickly getting famous; it is expected that shortly, transportation will be done quicker than before with self-driving vehicles and self-driving conveyance methods from the warehouses to the customer. 

More Returns 

For a long time, buyers were accustomed to shopping at actual retail locations. As technology advanced into the market, it has been observed that most people who shop at retail locations have totally different behaviors and approaches in comparison to the individuals who purchase on the web. 

The individuals who buy online, in general, change their mind rapidly, leaving distribution centers with around twenty-two percent chances of order returns.

Return Logistics:

The ability of warehouses to proficiently oversee returns is basic in the online business market. Customers hope to get their things rapidly; however, they also expect a hassle-free experience. 

This process, also called return logistics, is one of the challenging tasks that has been brought by eCommerce.

Return Logistics Processing 

Today, many people anticipate same day-or 24-hour delivery, which has become a struggle in the eCommerce and warehousing fields. Today’s critical job of the e-commerce warehouses and freight forwarding companies is to manage the order fulfillment and returns effectively without mistake or delay. As mentioned, this has left eCommerce and warehousing organizations in steady battle and challenge as returned products require  

  • Extra work  
  • Extra cost 
  • Extra storage area.

Since return logistics in the warehouse process are moderately new to the business, not all warehouses and distribution are ready. With the fast development of online business, it’s important to figure out how to oversee returns rapidly and proficiently.

The Shift from Bulk to Individual Orders

For a long time, warehouse spaces and distribution centers were made to deal with bulk requests only. But with the developing eCommerce market giving a helpful shopping experience, they are getting individual orders too. 

According to analysts, to have the option to compete in the online business in the present times, picking, packing, and the ability to tend to small volumes and deliver single items to buyers is very important.

Warehouse Solutions: 

Still, you need to consider that warehouse staff and managers must invest in solutions into the distinctive distribution center accessible today if you want to handle individual and consistent orders. This incorporates 

  • Slotting optimization systems,  
  • Inventory management systems,  
  • warehouse mobility.  

Choosing the Warehouse Location  

The location of the warehouses in the past used to be determined by the zoning regulations. The significance of time in our everyday lives has increased dramatically over the past years. Modern men are too impatient to wait for their orders for months and, in some cases, even for days since they can now track their orders.


With quick delivery being one of the main features in online business, it has become essential to have a location that is not far from the buyers. Due to this, there has been a rise in warehouses’ need inside metropolitan regions and close to private networks.  

Through proximity to customers, metropolitan warehouses offer a lot of benefits, including 

  • an effective “last mile” delivery service 
  • low transportation expenses 
  • The option of free delivery (attracting customer’s attention) 

These things make up the typical pattern in internet business today. If your warehouse is not near to your customers, you will have to charge extra delivery costs, which can lead to the reluctance of customers and buyers to shop from your organization.

Unexpected Buying Patterns

One of the biggest challenges that the warehouses face today amid the persistent rise in the online business is the unpredictability factor. Because warehouses find it challenging to deal with the seasonal demands, it frequently results in understocking and overstocking.  

Under such conditions, it is hard for warehouses to survive that have rigid frameworks. Flexible models allow the warehouses to adapt to the increasing and decreasing demands. The various warehouse operations, including the order processing, need to be flexible and upgraded for dealing with the flux in demand.


Internet business has just been around for a brief timeframe, yet its effect has just carried critical changes to the warehouse industry. Warehouse owners should consider upgrading the warehouse processing and considering embracing technological solutions to support warehouse productivity and address the issues of internet business. 


Author Bio

Danielle Gregory is a full-time Writer, Traveler, and Marketing Expert who is Currently Working for QAFILA. Danielle’s writing relates to a range of subjects such as logistics and IoT. Besides writing, she enjoys traveling, Cooking, and Riding