This is the time of year eCommerce store owners live for. I know I do!
But alas, the days of me picking, packing and shipping orders are gone. But I do remember them. I remember them well.
When I owned TheFerretStore.com, a typical Monday would consist of about 300 – 350 orders. Once Black Friday hit, a typical Monday had us looking at 500 – 600. And we didn’t drop ship. All the product we sold was stocked in our warehouse, picked, packed and shipped by a staff of 50 before automation.
We had pickers that would grab an order, start at the front of the pick route and fill big plastic tubs up with that order’s contents. The tub made it’s way on a set of rollers to a packing station where someone would verify items and quantities, wrap the items up with care and seal the box. The box would then make its way to a shipping station where one person would do the weighing and shipping.
Then we automated things. Everything was barcoded for accuracy, the shipping station was eliminated and equipment added at each packing station which enabled the packer to verify, pack and ultimately ship the package. With automation we dramatically increased out output and reduced our headcount.
Even with automation, when the holidays rolled around, it was all hands-on-deck. Everyone stepped up to the plate when the orders were backing up. We had a 24-hour shipping guarantee that we had to abide by and that meant many late nights and weekends. Customer Service Representatives would help out after their shifts, all our managers were pulled into the warehouse and basically anyone who could breathe was enlisted to help.
While the orders were going out, stock was coming in, so we had to balance and work around stockers who would be in the aisles restocking shelves or relocating product for quicker picking. Normally restocking was done at night when the picking operation wasn’t going on, but during the holidays you did what you had to do!
The hustle-bustle of “the season” was fun and exciting, and in case you didn’t get it from this post – I miss it. I loved walking through the warehouse watching that big stack of orders start out inches high and get whittled down by the end of the day, then grow the next morning. I miss the excitement of hearing “150 orders to go and an hour to get them out” at three in the afternoon.
A lot of eCommerce store owners never had the “thrill” of warehousing product and and filling orders. As more and more companies started drop-ship programs the eCommerce store owner needs to just send their orders in and someone else does the work for them.
The stores I own today, are all drop-ship stores and well, aren’t very exciting this time of year! There’s no warehouse for me to walk through and count the boxes going out. There’s no busting on the FedEx or UPS driver who was off for 8 weeks because that 70-pound ferret cage he lifted resulted in a hernia. And there’s no late night or weekend shifts working to crank out the orders (everyone hated them anyway).
I waxed nostalgic in today’s post after receiving an email from one of my good friends who uses Solid Cactus for her eCommerce needs. She was showing off pictures of the orders leaving her warehouse like a new father would show off pictures of his newborn son.
I remember pictures like these too…. I also remember how bad my back hurt by the end of the day Friday.
If you’d like to open your own eCommerce store and experience all the fun and excitement for yourself, be sure to call upon Solid Cactus. I’m not only a former owner, I’m also a customer. And an employee! They can help you get started on Yahoo! Store, Amazon Webstore, eBay Prostores or Solid Cactus eCommerce.
Then once you’re up and running, Solid Cactus can help with Internet Marketing, Call Center Services, Comparison Shopping Engine Management, accuRATEship Shipping Manager, and total automation with Cactus Complete Commerce.
Shameful, self serving plug is complete.