Expand your e-commerce storage with a Mezzanine Floor

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Lockdown changed everything, not least our shopping habits. Though some ultra-cautious entrepreneurs are still anticipating a return to pre-pandemic practice, most online businesses accept that the growth in online shopping is a permanent change. This, of course, has real implications for e-commerce. Customer service has noticeably improved during this period, e.g. the introduction of many customer-friendly practices in areas such as product returns, and this in turn has helped to further boost consumer confidence.

As a result, online retail continues to grow: Purchases in 2021, for example, were up 10% on the previous years’ total, and 2022 online retail sales are forecast to show another 14% year-on-year increase. While e-commerce clearly welcomes sustained performance at these levels, one particular area now coming under sustained pressure is storage space. 

The storage conundrum

Covid-19 and the escalating Ukraine-Russia war has shown just how far-reaching the impact of a crisis can be. And even though e-commerce is reaping the direct economic benefits of an online shopping boom, online retailers are aware that negative impacts currently taking their toll elsewhere in some markets (e.g. soaring fuel costs) carry the potential to undermine the present positive outlook.

With this climate volatility in mind, most business owners are understandably reluctant to secure extra storage space by embarking upon costly building expansions or purchasing larger premises at even greater expense. Yet many e-commerce enterprises could discover the most viable solution is just above their heads!

A typical e-commerce warehouse outlet has a thoroughly practical ground-floor layout, plus a considerable volume of totally unused space overhead – sometimes as much as six metres or more. A commercial mezzanine floor is designed and purpose-built to recover this ‘aerial real estate’ which can be flexibly configured in a variety of ways to benefit a whole range of businesses presently seeking low-cost expansion options to create more storage space. 

What the experts say

To get some perspective on what all of this might entail, we approached UK based mezzanine construction specialists Western Industrial to walk us through the process from concept to completion. Here’s what they have to say: “Firstly, we set up a free consultation with our prospective client. The purpose here is to spend time listening to what the client wants. We then ask more-detailed questions to promote further discussion, which enables us to build up a clear picture of the client’s requirements. Based on this assessment, and always working in collaboration with the client, we flesh out the details of the design: choosing the right materials, designing the column grid framework necessary to support the whole project, and determining an installation plan which will both facilitate trouble-free construction and minimise downtime. Our aim is to create a solution which matches, or exceeds, the client’s expectations while also ensuring the finished structure fully complies with all fire and safety requirements and meets the demands of current building regulations.” 

Mezzanines: the advantages

If you’re considering a mezzanine, take a careful look at the primary advantages.

Mezzanines are:

– practical, offering an on-site solution which can recover ‘lost’ vertical space in your existing building. Instead of a costly relocation, you can add on two, or sometimes even three times your existing storage capacity just by installing an elevated storage platform.

– adaptable, allowing you create a versatile facility to cover your present storage requirements, but which could then be easily re-purposed later as your business needs evolve and your priorities change.

– easy to install with none of the disruption and production downtime typically associated with building alterations. Advance planning at the design stage means you will know exactly how your mezzanine installation will be implemented.

Low-risk expansion

A shortage of storage space can rapidly cause problems in e-commerce environments. So a mezzanine floor represents a rapid, cost-effective response – a rational answer which means businesses can continue to meet those challenging deadlines. In addition, a mezzanine platform can help future-proof a commercial enterprise. For example, offering a practical solution for scaling up to accommodate more stock or increase production. 

Mezzanines are used for a broad range of commercial applications. These can include not only warehouse storage or additional office space, but also a showroom and sales area for retail products, or a workshop area for housing specialist manufacturing equipment. 

So if your business growth demands a rapid yet flexible response, a cost-effective mezzanine platform could be the ideal solution.

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