The internet has helped people turn ideas into reality. With a wealth of information at our finger tips, almost anyone can start up their own business. Some fail and some are extremely successful. Although sales and marketing might be considered to be one of the most important parts of a business, let’s not forget distribution.
Why Is Distribution So Important?
Distribution is the foundation of any business. Most people are now used to the next day delivery that most online retailers offer. Item out of stock? No problem! The consumer will simply go elsewhere.
If you are supplying items that go out of stock, then you have a distribution problem. Not only is that going to be a potential revenue source that you have lost, but you have passed on that valuable revenue to your competition. This is why you need to map out and monitor the distribution process for your brand.
If you are importing items from the likes of Indonesia, Taiwan or even China, then you are going to be waiting 6-12 weeks for delivery. This is assuming that the items clear customs without any problems. For that reason, it is worth considering air freight when you have outstanding orders.
Even if you make a loss, you will have served extra customers that may return to your brand in the future; every sale is extra coverage for your business. Of course, you’ll need to plan orders at least 12 weeks in advance if you are looking at sea freight. Take into account busy periods and always monitor stock levels regularly; you might need to place an order sooner than you think.
If you have started to increase sales dramatically, you will want to hold more stock. For most business owners, renting a warehouse is the only option. Local storage is sometimes a much better option. Local storage facilities are ideal, simply because you can increase and decrease the storage facility that you pay for as and when the demand for your products changes.
This is possibly the most cost effective method of storing stock. Of course, if you already have a storage unit or warehouse, you can use a local storage company simply to absorb the excess stock holding that you have. This will mean that you don’t have to upgrade and move to a larger warehouse.
The next step is delivery. If you can’t deliver items fast, then you have a kink in your distribution chain. Whether you are selling to wholesalers, retailers or the end consumer, they are going to want their items fast. If you are delivering dozens of packages on a regular basis, it is worth speaking to a courier company and seeing what deals they can offer. They will usually require a minimum amount of packages per week (50) in order to offer anything cheaper than their standard offering.
The last thing you want is to get this far only to find out that the goods arrived to the consumer damaged. Make sure all items are packaged in the most protective way possible. This means using plenty of packaging materials such as bubble wrap and for bigger order, plastic pallets might be needed.