While warehouses have existed in various forms for centuries, ecommerce warehouses are a relatively new concept. With ecommerce sales continuing to rise every year, many online retailers are looking for more efficient ways to keep up with orders and streamline the distribution process. Ecommerce retailers have different needs and face different challenges than traditional brick and mortar retailers, so their warehousing needs are also unique. Let’s take a closer look at the basics of ecommerce warehousing, the different types of ecommerce warehouses, and some of the most common ecommerce warehouse jobs.
ECOMMERCE WAREHOUSING 101
In the simplest terms, ecommerce warehousing is the storage and management of goods that will be sold by an online retailer. In this case, storage and management encompass several additional duties like tracking the amount of inventory on hand, where items are stored, when items arrive at the warehouse, and following any necessary safety procedures for the storage and shipment of items.
The practice of running an ecommerce warehouse is referred to as ecommerce warehouse management. In addition to the duties listed above, ecommerce warehouse management also involves:
- Recruiting, training, and managing warehouse employees
- Working closely with shipping carriers
- Managing warehouse equipment
- Forecasting future shipping demands
- Obtaining any necessary licenses and certifications
- Recording daily inbound and outbound shipments
Many of the basic attributes of ecommerce warehouses are the same as other kinds of warehouses, however, ecommerce warehouses can vary greatly by size, location, number of employees, and more.
TYPES OF ECOMMERCE WAREHOUSES
From one-person shops, to small and mid-size teams, to worldwide corporations, the landscape of ecommerce retailers is diverse. A business’s warehousing needs will evolve as it grows and what’s right for one company may not be right for another. With that in mind, here are three of the most common types of ecommerce warehouses.
At Home Warehouses
For entrepreneurs and one-person teams who are just starting an ecommerce business, having a fully-staffed warehouse likely isn’t practical, much less affordable. In these cases, a person’s home can also serve as their warehouse. This solution makes sense for businesses that operate entirely out of the owner’s home with their basements, garages, or spare rooms essentially functioning as small warehouses.
On-demand warehousing is when businesses rent available warehousing and storage space for short periods. This is typically a service provided by tech companies that contract warehouses to share their excess space. This model is particularly useful for companies that operate seasonally or experience seasonal sale surges as it allows for warehouse space to be rented for a shorter time.
Fulfillment centers have become an increasingly popular choice for ecommerce retailers. Fulfillment centers take care of receiving and storing a business’s inventory as well as picking, packing, and shipping orders for delivery. Fulfillment centers are usually outsourced to third-party service providers who fulfill orders on a business’s behalf. Many of the ecommerce warehouse jobs that Summit Staffing hires for are at fulfillment centers.
MOST COMMON ECOMMERCE WAREHOUSE JOBS
Many of the job titles you’ll find for ecommerce warehouse jobs are similar to those you’ll find at more traditional warehouses. However, as ecommerce warehouse jobs are often found at fulfillment centers, there is a greater variety of job titles available that are specific to the shipping, receiving, and storage of inventory. Some of the most common ecommerce warehouse job titles include:
- Shipping and receiving clerk
- Forklift operator
- Warehouse associate & warehouse lead
- Fulfillment specialist
- Warehouse cleaner
FIND ECOMMERCE WAREHOUSE JOBS WITH SUMMIT!
Whether you’re a job seeker interested in ecommerce warehouse work or an employer looking to find great talent, Summit Staffing can help! We specialize in light industrial staffing and work with employers to fill jobs at ecommerce warehouses throughout the midwest. Contact us today to learn more!