According to Statistics Canada, retail e-commerce sales rose 110.7% to $3.5 billion in January, driving increased demand for warehouse space right across the country.
As storefronts closed during the pandemic, businesses pivoted to online shopping – and so did consumers. Because those companies needed additional capacity to store product and process orders, available space rapidly diminished and property prices skyrocketed.
Retailers Get Creative
Despite the need to deal with weather conditions and extreme work environments, retailers have resorted to some unorthodox solutions for housing their products. From closing retail locations to renting golf courses or even farmers’ fields for storage space, companies have had to be creative to keep up with pandemic demand. Some retailers have found it more cost effective to rent a field and pay for a season’s crop and associated tenants insurance than rent a warehouse facility.
With limited space available in areas such as greater Toronto, many companies are repurposing traditional retail space to dark stores – previous storefronts now being used to house product. Bed, Bath and Beyond will have transformed approximately 25% of its storefront facilities in Canada and the United States into temporary fulfilment centres by the end of 2022. Others are increasing hourly pay rates, hiring more people to handle logistics and finding ways to free up space and increase efficiency to offset costs and meet continually increasing demand.
Inventory management and supply chain efficiency is more crucial than ever. Without proper planning and management strategies businesses are left without operating essentials, product arrival times are delayed – or worse, product never shows up – and customer service becomes the casualty.
More and more, the solution to the need for more warehouse space is actually to have less. Outsourcing critical areas of the supply chain can include leveraging warehouse space, purchasing, inventory management and planning capabilities, e-commerce fulfillment and delivery services.
An End-to-End Solution
Supply chain challenges keeping you up at night? We’re here to help. Leverage Bunzl’s global sourcing capabilities, category management expertise, strategically located fulfillment centres and private transportation fleet to provide your customers with an efficient, cost effective and seamless service experience.