In the age of Covid-19, e-commerce remained triumphant with online sales growing by 46% in 2020 compared with the previous year. This huge growth in the market has created a ripple effect within the commercial property sector, with online retailers looking to expand.
Commercial Property is Back
Many e-commerce businesses are responding to the high customer demand and are seeking new warehouse centres to store and manage the additional stock, but also to gain quicker distribution routes to their customers. To put it into perspective, 250 deals totalling 15 million square feet in the industrial and logistics UK property market were done in the first quarter of this year (up 44% from the previous year). Logistics operators and online retailers accounted for 63% of this take-up.
Move With the Times
Consumer behaviour has changed over time, there has been a huge shift towards online shopping which was accelerated over the past year. Aside from this, customers expect an expansive range, and due to a certain retail platform, next day delivery.
Keeping up with this growth and the changing demands of the customer, means e-tailers need to become as efficient as possible. Many retailers have begun leveraging automation and digital tools for their distribution practices such as monitoring stock in real-time or using data analytics to predict the demand for stock items. However, digitalisation is not just restricted to those operational aspects, digitalisation can be embedded into every aspect of how the business operates to gain greater efficiency.
One area that is often neglected but in most cases is a cumbersome process, is the sign-in process. In most cases, signing in visitors, employees or contractors is still being done manually; signing in with a pen or paper which needs to be securely stored. This method is time-consuming, unhygienic, Insecure and often leaves room for a lot of inaccuracies.
With such expansion plans, retailers are going to need to maintain control of these larger or multiple locations. The more they grow, the greater number of employees they will have to manage, there will be more delivery drivers visiting the location and an increased number of visitors and contractors requiring access to these locations. Manually tracking all visitors will soon become a mammoth task, unless they digitalise.
With our Visitor Book solution visitors, contractors and employees can automatically sign-in and out using a QR code displayed at every entrance. By scanning the QR code and simply completing the required details on their device, the sign-in and out times will be automatically logged in the system. In addition, companies can pass on any relevant safety and security documentation relevant to who is signing in at the point of sign In. This must be read and accepted to complete the sign In process.
Online retailers will now have access to a central, cloud-based portal where they have complete visibility over occupancy across all locations. Retailers now have accurate real-time occupancy data, which in current times could be critical for maintaining social distancing.
Distribution centres often have a lot of health and safety protocols that must be followed. Through our Visitor Book app health and safety policies can be relayed to all at the point of sign-in to ensure they are aware of the risks before entering the premises. In case of an emergency, no longer will reception staff have to print guest entries or find a logbook when time is of the essence. The Visitor Book portal is accessible via any device remotely, so reception can quickly exit the building.
A boom like this is great for online retailers but to manage this growth effectively, businesses need to be as efficient as possible, in every aspect.