How Can Bi-Coastal Distribution Centers Improve Your Business?

Location is one of the most important determining factors for the success of your e-commerce business. In the distribution landscape, an ideal distribution center should not only help a company reach key markets and maximize profitability. It should also position them in a pivotal location to deliver their product quickly and effectively. Contrarily, a poorly chosen location can have a huge impact on shipping times and customer service. Ultimately, this would create a domino effect that can lead to customer dissatisfaction and distrust.

Finding the right distribution center for you can become a challenging feat. However, one particular strategy has gained popularity for its effectiveness and cost-saving efficacy among e-commerce businesses – bi-coastal distribution. An optimally located bi-coastal distribution center mends the disconnect between customers and products from coast to coast. This broadens customer satisfaction across the whole country – not only half. 

Do your customers live in both the East and West Coast? Positioning your product bi-coastally can save you precious transit time. So, what are the exact benefits of having a bi-coastal distribution center strategy and why should you consider it?

Distribution Time

Distributing your product closer to your customers or end destination can save valuable distribution time and increase speed to market. Normally, in retail distribution, goods come to the country and travel from one coast to the other. With bi-coastal distribution centers, goods come into the country on either side and are shipped out quicker, each taking care of one half of the land and satisfying the consumers located on either coast. 

According to Dropoff’s 3rd annual study of U.S. consumers, “An astonishing 99% of U.S. consumers say ‘fast delivery’ is important to them when making online purchases.” More and more people want and expect same-day delivery. Others even become frustrated when it is not a shipping option during online checkout. Moreover, consumers “expect companies to keep up with Amazon: 43% expect companies to have ‘much faster delivery times’ than last year (up from 35% in 2017).” This makes distribution time one of the most important factors in the e-commerce industry apart from the quality of the product.

Distribution Cost

Time is money, especially in the distribution industry. However much you disagree with this phrase, there is no way to disregard time as a valuable resource, making it best practice to do things as quickly and efficiently as possible. Much like bi-coastal distribution centers reduce distribution time, manufacturing and shipping items closer to their final destination also reduces the cost you would otherwise incur from longer transits. 

The greater the distance between your fulfillment warehouse and your customer, the more zones your package will have to cross. That means a higher shipping cost. With bi-coastal distribution centers, each order can ship from the location closest to the customer, avoiding crossing multiple zones and saving on shipping – all while the customer receives their order quicker. 

Reduced Overhead

In business, overhead refers to the ongoing expense of operating a business, and believe it or not, having another facility in a completely new area can save you overhead costs that might otherwise not be available closer to home. Through a bi-coastal distribution strategy, you have the ability to find options in other geographical areas with cheaper rent, land costs, tax rates, zoning, utilities, and labor. 

For example, a distribution center in Pennsylvania might be cheaper to run than one in Los Angeles, due to rent in LA being substantially more expensive than other areas in the US. Although there will be some duplicate element costs, overall savings can increase the farther you get from home. 

Simplify Product Returns

Returns should not only be easy for your customer but for your distribution center as well. Unfortunately, returns are a complicated process that entail more than meets the eye. Because of its paper-intensive nature and the effort it takes to identify and report the reasons for the return, the location of the distribution center to which it will get sent back to should be as close as possible to customers for a streamlined and quick procedure. 

With bi-coastal distribution centers, you easily cater to all customers. Your proximity to both coasts situates you in a prime location for you to receive returns and exchanges quickly. The time spent on product return processing is also reduced, making for quicker response times and actionable solutions to maintain a happy customer base. 

Local Knowledge

An e-commerce business will do its best when tapping into the workforce contributions and knowledge of more than one area of the country. Having local employees equals knowledge about the local environment and the customers inhabiting those spaces. With their first-hand experience, employees are able to determine the best processes and equipment used for certain products to fully satisfy the customers’ specific geographical needs. For example, an Arizona distribution center might need refrigeration for a product to ship in its prime condition, while a distribution center in Pennsylvania, on the other hand, might need heating. A bi-coastal distribution strategy helps you fully understand the needs of your customers in different states, ultimately increasing customer satisfaction.

Contingency Planning

Not everything goes according to plan all the time. As such, your e-commerce business should be prepared for potential emergencies and unforeseen weather conditions. Remember that all businesses are at risk of natural disasters or state-wide emergencies. This makes contingency planning a vital factor to consider when looking for the best distribution strategy for your business. 

With dual facilities and hundreds of miles between them, you can have a backup plan for the unforeseeable. A bi-coastal distribution strategy allows you to maintain business continuity even during complex circumstances. Although having only one distribution center continuing services might slow down distribution, it will enable you to avoid halting all orders and keep your business running strong. 

A winning fulfillment plan should deliver the service and speed your customers expect. Bi-coastal distribution centers allow you to do just that. If you are weighing between a single, centralized facility against a decentralized, multi-facility strategy, we highly recommend the latter. Having multiple facilities at your disposal saves essential time and cost. And calling more than one location home of your distribution efforts helps your e-commerce business better fit the needs of your customers. This makes same-day delivery services achievable as well. What are you waiting for? It’s time to look for a reputable bi-coastal distribution partner that fits your needs.

Looking for a distribution center in the Spokane, Washington area? Contact us today for more information about our facilities and services. We want to learn more about you and your business. Let’s establish your winning strategy and keep your customers happy with faster turnarounds and quality service. 

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