The industry of e-commerce is on the rise. While already crucial to a business’s financial success, efficient e-commerce practices are predicted to become more and more essential in a society that expects goods to be purchased conveniently and delivered quickly. According to leading market research provider Statista, 360.3 billion US dollars worth of physical goods were sold in 2016, and that number is only expected to increase to 603.4 billion US dollars by 2021. Another study by Statista states that currently, 9% of retail sales in the United States are goods purchased via the internet, but if trends in countries like China, in which online sales of physical goods amount to 23.1%, and the UK, in which online sales of physical goods amount to 19.1%, are to be evaluated, the United States is soon to follow in their tracks.
This emerging trend of e-commerce has been putting small businesses, who are already facing heightened competition as a consequence of global growth, at a significant disadvantage to larger businesses. While large businesses have the funds and resources to open warehouses all over the country, or to purchase the services of career warehouses (which require long-term volume and time commitments, as well as individual contracts for each warehouse) so as to get items to customers as efficiently as possible, small businesses cannot afford to do so. As a result, small businesses often must ship items from far-away locations and take days or weeks longer than their larger competitors to reach customers. According to Dotcom’s Distribution’s 2016 study, 87% of online shoppers say delivery time affects their decision to buy a product and 44% of online shoppers say quick delivery increases their trust in a brand. Bloomberg News claims that 60% of buyers expect 1-2 day delivery. Research by KPMG’s network of independent consulting firms, published in 2017, states that 43% of consumers cited “delivery options” as the most important factor in deciding where to purchase an item from online, following only “lowest price” at 57%. While large corporations are making moves to meet this demand for quick service, smaller companies have been left in the lurch with few options — that is, until UPS announced the launch of Ware2Go, a new service specifically designed to level the e-commerce playing field.
Ware2Go, which launched on Tuesday, August 28th, works by acting as the middleman between warehouses and small merchants. By providing large quantities of inventory from a number of small merchants, Ware2Go is able to get better deals for merchants, as well as bypass the barriers of minimum inventory and minimum time holding inventory in warehouses. Ware2Go vets warehouses so clients don’t have to, and in addition to storage also provides pick/pack fulfillment and shipping, as well as guaranteed UPS 2-day delivery services. Additionally, merchants have only one contract with Ware2Go instead of individual contracts with each warehouse they want to do business with. Ware2Go accomplishes this by creating a network of warehouses all over the country that have space they would like to fill.
To use Ware2Go, merchants and warehouses must both create accounts and answer questions about their needs and capabilities. Merchants provide details about their products, orders, space requirements, and specific delivery needs. Then, they can upload and manage their inventory and order across the whole network. The Ware2Go platform matches warehouses with merchants and simplifies communications to make inventories easy to manage for all parties involved.
“As our customers have much more complex supply chains,” UPS Chief Transformation Officer Scott Price explains in his August 28th Bloomberg interview, “they look to UPS to help them simplify that complexity, which is why we believe the end-to-end service single price approach will be part of the solution for those customers.”
While Ware2Go is only the latest of many tools designed to minimize the barriers to entry for small businesses in the rising – and increasingly competitive – e-commerce industry, Ware2Go’s launch is so significant because it eliminates one of the most daunting obstacles, and likely will stimulate small business growth all over the nation. While the ultimate effects remain to be seen, Ware2Go intends to be a game-changer for both small businesses and the American economy as a whole.
Authored by: Natalie Lifson, reporter for Smallbiztechnology.com