The number of online stores in the Netherlands has been growing strongly for a while. It already did that before the start of the corona pandemic, but online shopping has exploded since then. Now that countless consumers who may never have made an online purchase have also devoted themselves fully to digital shopping, many more entrepreneurs than before are turning to starting an online store. Whether or not in addition to a physical store.
In doing so, they do encounter a number of challenges. First of all, of course, the general, technical matters that come into play when starting a webshop. However, there are also practical challenges that arise that many entrepreneurs do not have a clear picture of in advance. Being able to store your stock of products and articles in a safe, easily accessible and not too expensive place is one of those practical challenges. Not everyone thinks about it, but it is a precondition to be able to run your webshop in a good way.
Advantages of storing your webshop stock externally
If you sell ten knitting projects every week, you can of course simply put your stock in the attic or in your hobby room. However, most web shop owners are betting on a slightly larger scale. Then it is really advisable not to store your stock at home, but at a professional location - especially if you don't have a huge shed on your plot. After all, you don't want to lug around boxes full of junk to your guest room day in, day out. Keeping your inventory in an impractical location will ultimately cost you a disproportionate amount of time. You really want to prevent this.
External webshop storage also brings various advantages. In the first place, your stock is often properly secured at a location with camera surveillance. Should something happen, the stock is also insured against damage and / or theft at a professional location. You can often scale up or down the space that you rent at such a location at any time, so you do not run into the problem that 'the warehouse' becomes too small or is half empty and thus generates unnecessary costs. Finally, also important: professional storage locations for webshop stock are often heated and air humidity is taken into account. This way your products will remain beautiful for the longest and they will not suffer unnecessary damage.
Which costs to pass on?
So that all sounds very logical and positive, keeping your webshop stock in a professional storage location. Yet not every web shop owner uses it. One of the most common objections is having to pass on the costs of storage. If you keep your stock in or around your own home, you obviously do not have those costs. The comparison with shipping costs is often made.
Yet this argument is not entirely valid. Storage costs, very different from shipping costs, cannot be passed on one to one on an individual product. This is different for shipping costs: every item shipped simply entails shipping costs. Costs of renting storage space are the same every month and are not directly dependent on the number of transactions - they are operational costs. Shipping costs are directly related to the number of transactions and are therefore reflected one-to-one in every product.
Smart handling of storage costs
Obviously, storage space does entail costs. As a web shop owner you can deal with this in a smart way. If you rent a larger storage, you can store more stock. The costs per cubic meter are then often lower. In addition, you can often negotiate a lower price with suppliers if you purchase in bulk. That way you can reduce the purchase price of raw materials or products. A smart approach does not necessarily have to be a lot more expensive - in fact, in some cases you can end up with 0.
Dropshipping: less margin but the arrangements
Finally: a lot entrepreneurs decide to use dropshipping. Then you do not manage your own stock, but you deliver directly from your supplier. You then pay them a small fee for the settlement of your orders. As a seller you are actually purely an intermediary, something like bol.com, for example, is doing more and more.
Is that useful? In practice often not. It seems tempting, but your margin is getting smaller and you are working harder to arrange everything. In addition: if something goes wrong, you as a seller must solve it, while you did not cause the error yourself. So your dependence increases.
The chef's advice: rent a spacious storage unit, buy large and therefore cheaply, and make it easy for yourself that way.