We are living in a “co-everything” world from co-work spaces to co-living spaces and now co-warehouse spaces. Co-warehousing involves multiple smaller companies sharing a common warehouse space.
Because the growth of co-working has accelerated at a rapid pace and investment activity in co-living is gaining traction, the next frontier of a flexible way to service consumers is co-warehousing, which has also gained popularity. The sharing economy has eliminated market inefficiencies while providing cost savings for consumers and tapping into the demand for increased access. The rapid growth of e-commerce has increased the demand for final-mile distribution centers. U.S. consumers spent a total of $517.4 billion in online sales in 2018 — up 15% from the previous year — and represented about 14% of total non-auto U.S. retail sales. In order to keep up with the winds of consumer, political and economic demand, the market has created an alternative to the traditional warehouse that offers a short-term and flexible option.
The disruption caused by the co-everything movement has had varying impacts across industries, third-party logistics providers (3PLs) have long provided shared services and expertise needed to assist companies with warehousing and distribution needs. New companies, such as FLEXE and STORD, have emerged over the past few years to provide different types of flexibility and cost savings for tenants in the eCommerce fulfillment, retail distribution, inventory, and overflow space.
One of the biggest leaders in the co-warehouse providers is a company called Saltbox. They have facilities in major cities like Atlanta and Dallas and offer emerging retailers upscale office space paired with small-scale, flexible warehouse facilities.
The 27,000-square-foot facilities offer month-to-month memberships, flexibility, and turnkey value propositions without being locked into a long-term lease. Being centrally located allows them to offer access to loading docks, freight equipment, on-demand labor, conference rooms, enterprise security, and even a photography studio – all with the added benefit of working among a community of peers with similar challenges.
Companies like Saltbox are uniquely oriented around the needs of smaller retailers and fulfillment providers who run physical goods businesses, whose business is dependent upon warehouse space, and were previously stuck in self-storage facilities.
Small e-commerce operators, import/distribution businesses, and a wide range of makers (i.e. Etsy providers), but also larger companies that find the smaller, more flexible footprints attractive for their regional operations. By offering core products like private offices, private warehouse suites, and community memberships the mix of the three can be used by a company and fit most entrepreneurs' ideal needs.
For companies that deal with physical goods, there are not many places to turn for guidance and support to talk about important topics related to their business like navigating customs and tariffs, selecting shipping partners, and sourcing raw materials – all of which are under-addressed in the mainstream technology start-up ecosystem.
For developers, these can be a one-stop shop for repurposing old warehouses or big-box-store space. For more information or to find out what we can build for you contact our team of experts at www.BHIbuilds.com