Ecommerce sales are growing rapidly as more and more consumers move to online buying. Currently ecommerce sales in the USA are approximately $400 Billion. Projections vary though all reports show strong growth. Forester Research suggests online sales will reach $414b by 2018 while eMarketer has projected sales to hit $491b by 2018. According to the Pitney Bowes Shipping Index, the USA represents the largest parcel shipping market with more than 11.8 billion (2015) parcels shipped. This growth suggests excellent print sales opportunities in the warehouse and distribution marketplace.
Distribution operations use a variety of printed documents to manage their operations. Integrated labels are incorporated into packing lists and pick slips. These may be used for adding a tracking barcode to the package or a return label. The key value to this format is the improved efficiency gained by imaging the document and label in a single print process at the distribution location. Operations generating a shipping document and label in two areas may be doubling their print time and have a potential risk of miss-labeling a package. Labels printed with a variable barcode may be used for inventory control, package processing and return to inventory applications. Many of these applications are cut sheets imaged using laser or inkjet equipment. Thermal printed versions are growing in many distribution areas as they are more conducive to the warehouse environment.
When working with clients using barcode imaging for tracking, it’s important to maintain a high level of quality in both the barcode imaging and the substrate used for the label. Operations shipping thousands of packages per day cannot have lines shut down due to failed scans caused by poorly printed barcode or substrates with low reflectance rates.
Print opportunities are possible in nearly every level of retailer with an online store. Many small to mid-sized businesses are finding new sales through e-commerce. Some of these retailers may only shipped 25,000 to 50,000 packages per year, but are still candidates for integrated labels and custom packaging labels.
For distributors looking for a market that shows signs of multiple years of growth, the warehouse and distribution market is one that worth exploring. Another factor for consideration, and one that may help you locate potential new business, is that fact the warehouse demand in the USA has grown to the point many retailers are having to look at outsourced locations. This is driven by the customers demand for shorter delivery times. Logistics now play a much more critical role. This means new distribution centers across the country. According to a report by E. Smith Realty Partners, the top areas for distribution center growth in the USA will be in CO, UT, CA, TX, MD, AL, SC, MI, IA, LA, NE and WA.
Flesh Co is a leader in the production of integrated labels used in warehouse and distribution facilities. For more information, contact our sales team at 800.835.0098. To request a Warehouse and Distribution sample kit, visit our website at Fleshco.com.
For a deeper dive into the world of online sales you can check out the 2016 Internet Retailer Report.