In the ever-evolving landscape of eCommerce, meeting customers’ expectations for swift delivery has become a paramount challenge for businesses. The demand for timely order fulfillment is especially critical in today’s competitive market, where customers anticipate receiving their packages within a matter of days. But how can an eCommerce business achieve such demanding requirements?
In this article, we explore the concept of strategic warehousing solutions, focusing on leveraging fulfillment centers for international market expansion.
What is Strategic Warehousing?
Many eCommerce stores have traditionally relied on shipping from a single location, often resulting in extended shipping times, increased expenses, and frustrated customers. However, a solution exists – the strategic inventory distribution across multiple warehouses. By spreading stock strategically and allowing the nearest warehouse to the customer’s shipping address to fulfill the order, eCommerce businesses can promise quick delivery times, setting themselves apart from the competition and keeping customers satisfied.
Four Types of International Warehouse
The public warehouse operates on an open-access basis, making it available to any business seeking warehousing solutions. Managed by warehouse operators, this option is often the top choice for eCommerce businesses venturing into the international market. They can conveniently pay a fee to access storage and fulfillment options in foreign countries, eliminating the need to build their own warehouses.
Unlike the public alternative, private warehouses are owned and operated by private companies. These facilities can be perceived as extensions of your primary business. Example: If your headquarters are based in the UK, you can establish a private warehouse solely dedicated to serving international shoppers in another country.
A bonded warehouse serves as a designated space for businesses to store inventory intended for import or export. Often referred to as a customs warehouse, this establishment is operated by the local government. It offers businesses a strategic way to bring products in and out of the country without incurring taxes or import duties.
Distinguishing from traditional warehousing, an international distribution center takes on additional roles beyond mere storage. In addition to housing goods, these centers efficiently fulfill and package orders. Some operators even provide both warehousing and distribution services under one roof, streamlining the supply chain for businesses.
Benefits of Strategic Warehouse for International Fulfillment
A strategically located warehouse can enhance the customer experience for your international clientele and significantly improve shipping times. While there is a slight risk of not fully utilising the space if international sales don’t meet expectations, the true magic happens when your international warehouse seamlessly integrates with your business, regardless of the geographical distance from your home base.
Here are the key advantages of having a strategic warehouse for international fulfillment:
Reduced Shipping Costs
You can reduce shipping costs and delivery times by strategically locating multiple warehouses in different regions. Warehouses closer to customers enable quicker order processing and fulfillment, reducing transit distances and associated expenses. Partnering with a reputable 3PL provider with a global network further enhances this advantage, as they have established shipping routes and can leverage their expertise in optimising delivery logistics.
With warehouses positioned strategically, international customers can receive their orders more quickly. When a customer places an order, it can be fulfilled from the nearest warehouse, leading to shorter transit times and improved customer satisfaction. The efficient inventory management across multiple locations helps meet demand promptly and ensure timely deliveries.
Enhanced Inventory Management
Having multiple warehouses allows for better inventory management. You can allocate stock strategically based on demand patterns in different regions. This helps prevent stockouts and overstocking, reducing the likelihood of lost sales due to unavailable products while optimising inventory turnover rates.
Mitigation of Supply Chain Disruptions
Operating in multiple locations provides a level of resilience in your supply chain. If one warehouse faces disruptions, such as natural disasters or transportation issues, you can still fulfill orders from other warehouses. This reduces the risk of major disruptions to your operations and ensures continuity of service to customers.
Local Market Presence
With warehouses in different countries, you establish a stronger local presence. This proximity to customers fosters trust and loyalty, as they see you as a business that understands and caters to their needs. It also allows you to tailor marketing efforts and product offerings to specific regional preferences.
Cost-efficient Returns Handling
Multiple warehouses enable you to offer local return addresses to international customers. This simplifies the returns process, reducing return shipping costs and speeding up the customer refund or exchange process. Simplified returns can lead to higher customer satisfaction and increased repeat business.
Compliance with Regional Regulations
Each country has its own set of regulations and import/export requirements. By having warehouses located in different regions, you can ensure compliance with local laws, customs procedures, and tax regulations. This reduces the risk of customs delays and penalties, streamlining the international shipping process.
Operating from multiple warehouses allows you to expand into new markets more easily. It will enable you to test new regions with lower overhead costs and gauge customer demand before committing to larger-scale operations.
International Fulfillment Services & Locations of I-Fulfilment
I-Fulfilment is constantly developing its completion network, including fulfillment centers throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, and the US. All International fulfillment centers adhere to the same standardised procedures, utilise the same proprietary warehouse management system, and are supported by the same dedicated team, ensuring a seamless experience for our clients.
Our comprehensive range of international fulfillment services remains consistent from one country to another. These services encompass warehousing, efficient picking and packing, kitting solutions, handling B2B orders, and more. Additionally, we provide a unified merchant dashboard that offers visibility into the activities taking place within each fulfillment center.
If you want to learn more about how I-Fulfilment’s international fulfillment streamlines the expansion of your eCommerce business across borders, contact us today!