How can eCommerce Businesses Leverage Warehouses and Fulfilment Centers Synergistically?

In our previous article, aptly titled Distribution Centres VS. Warehouse, we elaborated on the oft-confused differences between distribution centres and warehouses. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, warehouses and distribution centres each have their own distinct characteristics and strengths. Hence, it is especially important for businesses to realise these differences and ascertain the nuances of both storage space options available to them, especially since consumer expectations are rising and leeway for errors are thinning. The last thing a business wants is a logistics issue resulting in causing more problems throughout the supply chain.

In this article, we bring you more in-depth insights from the perspective of an eCommerce business, and will also explain why both fulfilment centres and warehouses can work hand in hand to help businesses solve their logistics challenges.

As mentioned in the previous article, both warehouses and fulfilment centres each have unique characteristics which each suit different business needs. However, an eCommerce-focused business, which requires speed, accuracy, the ability to handle large volumes of varying physical characteristics, would need to leverage on both warehouses and fulfilment centres to maximise their supply chain efficiency.


Almost 70% of customers will not make a repeat purchase with the same retailer should their purchases not arrive within two days of the date promised


eCommerce businesses are unique in that exceptionally quick turnaround time is needed. Consumer expectations are rising, and as such are demanding faster delivery timelines. A survey done by eConsultancy showed that almost 40% of customers abandoned their online orders should order to take longer than 7 days to arrive. On top of meeting tight delivery deadlines, it is also important that these timelines are not broken, as this will affect the trust of customers and in turn, make customer loyalty less likely. In fact, almost 70% of customers will not make a repeat purchase with the same retailer should their purchases not arrive within two days of the date promised.  As such, an efficient supply chain is essential in ensuring that no time is wasted between the order and the arrival of the goods at their doorstep. In this respect, a fulfilment centre is most suitable for the goods.

Fulfilment centres, such as those provided by UrbanFox, are equipped with high-tech machines which are able to sort products at very high speeds, allowing for faster turnaround time. Furthermore, odd-sized products which the machines may not be able to sort can also be accommodated, since staff will still be on-site to facilitate all the processes and would also be able to remedy any problems that should arise.

Conversely, many businesses work in large quantities of goods and also sell a large variety of goods in different physical characteristics to customers to provide consumers with more options. At times, these goods require specific storage conditions. For example, some beauty products should be stored in an air-conditioned environment to prevent the quality of the product from deteriorating. Other products might be odd-sized and require warehouses with specific shelving requirements. It can be a challenge to find a suitable warehouse, especially one that meets specific storage requirements. Furthermore, since eCommerce businesses work in large quantities of products, a large amount of warehouse space is required. UrbanFox is also able to accommodate the space requirements of most businesses since it has more than 2 million square feet of warehousing space available.

In addition, UrbanFox has the infrastructure in place to cater to niche segments, such as books. UrbanFox has sorting machines that are able to sort books, which vary greatly in terms of size and weight. Furthermore, books, while not fragile in the same way as ceramics or glass, are also easily damaged. Poor storage, handling and sorting of books would cause the pages of books to yellow or cause the corners to be dogeared even before they are delivered to customers. The special hardware UrbanFox employs differentiates it from competitors, which might use normal sorting machines, causing it to be in a condition less than pristine when it is delivered to the customers. This would undoubtedly cause brands to suffer from poorer reviews and decrease the likelihood of a repeat purchase.

Another product that UrbanFox has been entrusted to fulfil is medicine, which poses a logistics challenge because they not only require storage in a controlled temperature environment but also need to be delivered promptly to patients. Our storage solutions and last-mile delivery teams have to work closely to achieve a high turnaround and efficient deliveries. The efficiency between the different stages of logistics fulfilment is only possible using end-to-end logistics firms like UrbanFox since our in-house teams communicate and work closely together to facilitate processes. This is especially beneficial since consumer expectations are rising. More than half of consumers make purchasing decisions based on customer service, and 98% of consumers would rather talk to a live person than a voice recording when contacting a customer service hotline. UrbanFox has representatives available to assist customers who need any assistance with their delivery.

Not many logistics companies have both warehouses and fulfilment centres, even though both can work synergistically to meet both the large quantity requirements and the fast turnaround time that an eCommerce business demands. UrbanFox’s eFulfilment service stands out from the competition by being versatile in its ability to tailor to the needs of eCommerce businesses, even those that handle high volume and need to meet tight delivery deadlines at competitive rates. With the wide range of storage solutions, UrbanFox is able to accept customers with various needs, including B2B and B2C customers, and even B2B2C customers, by leveraging all the smart logistics capabilities provided.