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COVID-19 or not, if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that ordering groceries online is big business these days.

And we’re not talking about one of those services where someone goes shopping on your behalf – ecommerce grocery shopping is a huge part of both food sales and overall online sales right now, and it shows no signs of slowing down or going away.

As with all ecommerce industries, warehousing is a massive and crucial part of any given grocery operation. If your warehouse has the capacity to store food and other perishables, odds are you’ve been contacted about being a storage partner for an online grocery vendor of some kind.

Dealing in online grocery sales, however, is much different than merely being storage for a grocery chain or other vendor, and will require different strategies for your warehouse and your team to ensure items are handled safely and distributed correctly.

 

Ecommerce Tips for Grocery Warehouses

 

Understand the needed regulations & certifications

Even for a warehouse well-versed in the various needs of food storage, grocery distribution can carry with it a number of different regulations and needed certifications to ensure product safety and meet the requirements of various government agencies. These requirements can even affect parts of your warehouse operation including inventory management, as many government bodies require stricter FIFO management for perishable goods that get sold directly to consumers.

 

Rotate inventory as quickly as possible

We all know the importance of first-in-first-out handling for food and other perishable goods, but when the groceries are being sold directly to the consumer, it needs to take an even greater importance. When planning your FIFO strategy, you need to take into account the time it may take to arrive at the end customer’s house and factor that into when it needs to be discarded/returned by. While this may have the side effect of helping you free up more space on your pallet racks and wire shelves, keeping your customers safe is paramount.

 

Plan a different delivery method/logistics path

Grocery delivery directly to customers requires a different logistics path than if you were simply shipping goods to a vendor or retailer for further distribution. Depending on the unique business circumstances surrounding your grocery business, you may need to seek out hyperlocal delivery businesses that can respond quickly to orders and deliver them in a timely enough manner to ensure customer satisfaction and product freshness.

 

Focus on your service area

Finally, the key to winning in a grocery ecommerce business is to make sure your deliveries are done on time, and in a very specific geographic location. Spreading yourself too thin will result in cancelled deliveries, spoiled goods, and loss of customer confidence – stick to one geographic location close to your warehouse, and make sure to focus on customer safety above all else.

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