No matter what stage of growth your ecommerce company is in, one of your biggest concerns is inventory storage. Even though your store is online, your inventory needs to be stored somewhere that is organized and makes it easy to pick items and track inventory levels. To achieve this, many ecommerce businesses turn to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider like ShipBob that offers WaaS: warehousing-as-a-service.
Read on to learn more about WaaS and how a 3PL like ShipBob can help support your warehousing needs.
What is a warehouse-as-a-service (WaaS)?
Warehouse-as-a-service, or “WaaS”, is a logistics service that offers flexible, affordable, and scalable inventory storage solutions for ecommerce businesses.
Why do many startups turn to WaaS?
The ecommerce industry is experiencing a period of rapid growth, and as more and more ecommerce businesses are seeing heightened success, WaaS is becoming an increasingly popular solution — particularly for small to midsize ecommerce shops. Here are just a few of the reasons why so many businesses rely on warehousing services to help them grow faster.
Not enough money for a warehouse
Investing in your own warehouse requires a tremendous amount of capital and startups can rarely afford to invest in this when they’re still growing. Partnering with a 3PL that offers WaaS is cost-effective way for ecommerce businesses to store their inventory and outsource time-consuming fulfillment tasks. And since many 3PLs include additional services beyond warehousing, WaaS allows businesses to spend less time on logistics while keeping costs down.
Lacking logistics expertise
In the ecommerce industry, the learning curve for new business owners is steep — and when you’re trying to navigate inbound and outbound logistics without the proper distribution infrastructure and technology, it becomes difficult for a startup to forecast inventory, fill orders accurately, and ship orders out on time. With WaaS, businesses benefit by outsourcing logistics operations to the experts.
Need for flexibility and scalability
With a WaaS solution, you can easily expand your business and scale faster. As your businesses grows, logistics will become more complex and require expansions. Making sure you have enough space for not only current needs but also future growth will help prevent you from outgrowing the warehouse immediately.
ShipBob provides this flexibility. For example, ShipBob has fulfillment centers across the US, including international locations, which allows brands the ability to distribute inventory and take advantage of the extensive geographic footprint to broaden their customer reach.
Don’t want to hire and manage a warehouse team
When it comes to the most important hires for your ecommerce business, you’d like to prioritize roles that would grow your business (such as marketing roles or partnerships) rather than roles that can be easily outsourced. Hiring full-time labor to run a warehouse or fulfillment center can be a waste of your money and time, especially if your business only needs the extra help seasonally.
Don’t want to spend time on logistics
Most business owners want to focus on promotions and product development instead of managing inventory and packing boxes. With a WaaS provider, you can spend more time on money-making tasks functions while delegating warehousing, inventory management, and order fulfillment to the experts.
What do you get with an experienced WaaS solution?
An experienced WaaS solution is the best, not-so-secret weapon that gives burgeoning ecommerce companies a competitive edge, as WaaS doesn’t just offer storage. Rather, WaaS solutions usually encompass a wide array of value-adding services, all of which improve your business’ bottom line, satisfy your customers, and reduce your stress. Here are just some of the enhancements that you’ll experience when you partner with a 3PL for WaaS.
Leasing a warehouse can be costly and it takes up time to manage yourself. While few startups can afford to make such an investment early on, 3PLs offer the best warehousing solution at a lower cost while providing additional services including fulfillment and automated shipping. These warehousing services and the value adds offer more flexibility for a brand to grow while keeping logistics and fulfillment costs low.
With ShipBob, orders placed on your store are automatically sent to one of our warehouse locations and the order automation process can begin. From there, our fulfillment experts pick, pack, and ship orders and tracking information is automatically pushed to your store, where it can be shared with your customers.
“ShipBob offers fast order processing, which is important when we’re getting hundreds of orders each day. We wouldn’t be able to fulfill the volume we’ve seen — up to nearly 13,000 orders per month — on our own. We’ve had three holiday cycles with ShipBob, and the most recent Q4 was our smoothest yet.”
Manuel de la Cruz, CEO at Boie
The most experienced ecommerce WaaS? ShipBob.
ShipBob provides best-in-class WaaS for its merchants. ShipBob’s mission is to help direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands be more successful online by offering an Amazon-like logistics experience. We’re dedicated to finding ways to improve order accuracy and provide more capabilities and solutions for our customers.
Our relationships with trusted shipping carriers and our distributed inventory model guarantee 2-day shipping for all our customers, and our technology platform provides our customers full visibility into every stage of the supply chain, from inventory reception to last-mile delivery.
What our customers have to say about our WaaS services
Learn from these ShipBob customers the benefits of working with WaaS provider.
MDacne: Personalized acne treatment brand
For MDacne, personalization is everything, even when it comes to expanding their operations. MDacne is a tech-focused company, which means they needed a fulfillment partner that’s technology was agile enough to integrate with their tech stack. With ShipBob’s Developer API, they are able to build custom logic in order to ship personalized products with lots of variations in the kits.
“We are growing really fast and won’t slow down anytime soon. With ShipBob, we have the option to use more of their warehouses to further reduce shipping costs. Because ShipBob has a lot of people to handle our orders and additional warehouses we can expand into, we can scale up with ease as we continue to grow quickly. If we ran our own warehouse, it would be much harder to hire people and we’d inevitably outgrow the space.”
Oded Harth, CEO & Co-Founder of MDacne
Ocean & Co.: Eco-friendly jewelry brand
After Ocean & Co. generated over $2 million in sales its first year, they needed more inventory and fulfillment space. While investing in warehousing initially seemed appealing, they quickly realized it would be more expensive to do this, and would consume valuable time and energy better spent elsewhere. So they delegated warehousing and fulfillment to ShipBob.
“We looked into opening our own warehouses and hiring employees, but couldn’t come close with what 3PLs charge for picking, packing, and shipping. We’d also be worried about scheduling fulfillment shifts, ordering boxes and shipping labels, and dealing with the extra headaches of running logistics.
Most of all, those are hours we’d spend on tasks that are not scaling our business when we could be using those resources for growth. Our order volume has seen ebbs and flows, and ShipBob has fulfilled over 10,000 shipments per month for us, with Black Friday/Cyber Monday.”
Gerard Ecker, Founder & CEO of Ocean & Co.
BAKblade: Men’s personal care brand
Ever since a widely successful Kickstarter campaign and viral video, BAKblade needed to find a way to ship 30,000 orders. By choosing to outsource warehousing and logistics to ShipBob, BAKblade has been able to double its growth year over year without ever having to worry about the hassle of inventory management, order processing, and shipping.
“ShipBob also continues to expand its geographic footprint. There is a cost benefit to being spread out, as orders can be shipped from warehouses that are closer to customers and delivered very quickly.”
Matt Dryfhout, Founder & CEO of BAKblade
Get started with ShipBob
Whether you are just starting your business, are experiencing a dramatic increase in order volume, or have simply outgrown your current storage solution, it might be time to outsource logistics and fulfillment to a 3PL like ShipBob. Unlike buying or leasing a warehouse, WaaS providers like ShipBob offer a robust international fulfillment network powered by best-in-class technology.
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Here are some answers to common questions about warehouse-as-a-service.
1. What is warehouse-as-a-service?
Warehouse-as-a-service, or “WaaS”, is a service offered by logistics service providers that allows ecommerce businesses to affordably store their inventory in locations closest to their customers, along with picking, packing, and shipping solutions.
2. What does WaaS stand for?
“WaaS” is an acronym that stands for “warehouse-as-a-service.” When referring specifically to the storage of data servers, the acronym “DWaaS” is used, standing for “data warehousing as a service,” which is entirely different than the warehouse services provided for ecommerce businesses.
3. What are some common warehousing services?
Warehousing services for ecommerce business primarily consists of receiving and storing inventory, shipping, and returns management. Outsourcing warehouse management to a 3PL like ShipBob is very common for ecommerce businesses that don’t want to manage a warehouse themselves.