Seasonal storage space could prove essential for retailers this Christmas. There’s no doubt that the events of the last 16 months have played havoc with all aspects of our business and personal lives. Our behaviour has changed out of all recognition by trying to follow Covid legislation, guidelines and recommendations. Online retailers were put under immense pressure and they reacted quickly with temporary warehouse building extensions, overflow storage space and expanded logistics operations.
How retail buying behaviour will be affected in the run up to Christmas is anyone’s guess, especially with the shift to shopping online being so dramatic over lockdown. One thing is certain though – if retailers are to sell anything, they’re going to need it in stock.
As a retailer, just how much seasonal storage space you will need this Christmas is difficult to predict, especially if you are a supplier to brick and mortar stores or online retail. We don’t really know what the “new normal” is likely to be, but the shift away from the traditional high street to online shopping is inevitable and irreversible. It’s just a question of how quickly it happens.
Temporary short-term seasonal storage is going to be the best route for many retailers, coupled with flexible expansion options. With longish lead times from far-east suppliers, Brexit and the unpredictability of the Suez Canal blockage, sales forecasters would be wise to buy “safety stock” to meet potential demand.
The best options for seasonal storage are going to be the most flexible ones. There’s no doubt that short term on-site seasonal storage provided by a temporary warehouse marquee or tent offers the greatest flexibility. The space you have access to is the only limiting factor, and there are no complications around having inventory in two places. By opting for a temporary structure, options often include non-insulated or insulated, heating and lighting packages, eave heights of up to 8 metres and a range of roller shutter or sliding doors with flexible placement. Another advantage a temporary storage marquee offers is the ability to move it to another location should you need to. Additionally, the period of hire is totally flexible in most cases, with options to extend the hire period or even buy available.
You should also take into consideration the short-term hire of existing space, which may or may not be geographically suitable or flexible. Or the nuclear option of investing in building an entirely new warehouse or permanently extending an existing one.
The desire to better understand the market before investing in permanent solutions may just win the day.