E-commerce has significantly changed the retail landscape for consumers and businesses. It’s an industry that continues to grow year-on-year, and with more high-street shops closing their doors, e-commerce is fast becoming the most popular way to shop. Nowadays, if we need to find something, all it takes is a quick search online, and you can add the product to your basket and checkout within seconds. This phenomenon has evolved the purchasing journey, meaning customers want products immediately.

For consumers, online shopping is all about convenience and speed. There is no need to leave the house when you can find what you want online and compare different options without browsing physical stores. However, these benefits are offset by the fact that you must wait until the product is delivered. Traditional shopping means you can access what you need immediately, but e-commerce has a waiting time.

Retail brands must recognise that in this day and age, it’s vital that products are shipped immediately for quick delivery. This aspect is even more critical in a competitive market with heavyweight giants like Amazon that provide free next-day shipping and sometimes even same-day delivery. E-commerce conveyor systems are essential technologies that work in the background to streamline the process, helping companies get goods to their customers on time.

Today’s article explores how conveyor solutions power the e-commerce sector, covering how retailers use systems and their substantial benefits for this growing industry.


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how do retailers use conveyor systems?

Retailers are there to provide consumers with a diverse range of products and services that help them solve problems. Customers have a precise specification of what their ideal experience should be like during the purchasing journey. They may value speed, ease of collecting a package, product quality, detailed production information, tracking status, etc. If they are dissatisfied at any stage, such as because of a lack of updates or slow delivery, they might cancel the order and go elsewhere for future purchases. Businesses must go above and beyond to keep customers happy, and the best way to do this is often by streamlining the entire process and implementing efficient automation technologies.

Conveyors are complex systems that come in many different types, so they can be used for various purposes, not just to get products from their spot on the warehouse shelf to the back of a van. Below are common ways retail conveyor systems are used when fulfilling customer orders.

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Picking and Packing

The first step of the order fulfilment process is finding the correct product that the customer has requested. Warehouses are large facilities with thousands of products at different heights, which can be challenging and time-consuming. Integrated automation solutions can identify the product via unique codes and transfer it to the retail conveyor system to begin its journey to the customer. The inventory will be automatically updated to ensure accurate stock levels and avoid overselling. The package will move along the conveyor system to the packing zone, where it will be packaged securely and efficiently. Shipping labels will be printed and attached to ensure the correct product reaches the right customer. Before going to the final zone, some warehouses may have additional processes, such as quality control.

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Loading for Delivery

The ideal conveyor system will ensure the product is quickly and seamlessly transported from its storage point to the back of the delivery van. For loading products onto the delivery truck or van, e-commerce conveyor systems can connect to the rear of the vehicle to maintain a smooth flow. Automation technology or warehouse staff can then place the goods in the vehicle. Key considerations include maximising the space available, making it quick and easy for drivers to remove packages when arriving at the destination, avoiding injuries and preventing damage.

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Returns Processing

It’s essential not to overlook the returns process either. Customers may return an item because it’s faulty, no longer needed or wasn’t the right fit. Companies will want to get returned goods inspected and restocked as soon as possible so they’re available to purchase again. Conveyors will help transport the item from the delivery vehicle to the inspection, refurbishment, and storage zones.

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the benefits of e-commerce conveyor systems

Now that we’ve looked at some of the uses of conveyors for e-commerce, it’s time to analyse what makes them excellent solutions for the industry and how they can make life easier for businesses.

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Speed is perhaps the most valuable benefit for retail conveyor systems. We know that the ultimate goal of a retail brand is achieving customer satisfaction with quicker and more accurate deliveries, which will encourage consumers to keep returning. Processing, packing and shipping a high volume of orders needs to be fast. Customers expect to receive their orders within days or even hours. Conveyors are the optimal solution for increasing productivity and streamlining the process, ensuring products fly off the shelves and into the back of a truck ASAP. These systems help orders move through the supply chain while freeing up human resources to be used elsewhere. Without a conveyor system, think how long it would take for one person to find the product, package it in a box, and then carry it to another part of the warehouse for shipping.

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An online retailer needs to be highly efficient, and conveyors are instrumental in improving this part of the process. Conveyors will help you rapidly process orders and spread manual labour to other vital tasks. The systems can also be tailor-made to your warehouse, ensuring they’re designed to maintain a smooth flow and maximise the entire space.

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It’s easy to focus on speed and ignore the risk that this may create more errors and decrease the quality. Humans are prone to making errors, especially when handling multiple orders at once or working long hours. Not to mention, manual handling can lead to someone injuring themselves or damaging the product. Thankfully, conveyors are more refined and accurate, reducing the risk of human error. Machines are not perfect, but if there are errors, you will at least have access to data that you can use to prevent future mistakes.

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Things can change suddenly in an e-commerce environment; some days might be quiet, while others could see unprecedented orders. Not to mention, you will experience peak seasons, which for retail is often towards the end of the year with Black Friday sales and a last-minute rush for Christmas gifts. Please read our article on peak season efficiency for advice on these unique challenges. Therefore, you must adapt to the current market conditions, ensuring you keep up with the demand without overloading systems or causing a backlog. Conveyors are superb for scaling accordingly, helping you optimise your operations on the fly to safely handle more work without sacrificing quality.

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Last but certainly not least, conveyors can be integrated with many other equipment and technologies you use. For example, you can use them with your existing management systems to see visibility on what’s currently happening or maintain good communication with robotic systems. Conveyors go hand in hand with other modern technologies like scanners and automated sorting systems to identify the right products and move them along the chain to where they need to be. Once again, it’s all about achieving speed and efficiency without error.

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how we’ve helped e-commerce brands... and how we can help you too...

Joloda Conveyor Services has built a strong reputation working with several well-known brands within the retail sector for numerous years. We help businesses keep moving and implement improvements to maximise the efficiency of their operations. Our services include conveyor repairs to get you back up and running, conveyor maintenance to prevent downtime, and conveyor asset management to support you at all times.

We know it’s crucial to work efficiently, get products into a delivery van as soon as possible, and fix any operational issues immediately. Contact us today to see how we can start helping your business.

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about Joloda Conveyor Services

We are a unique service provider, focused 100% on repairs, maintenance and refurbishment of conveyor systems. Our team of conveyor carers are experts because they are not distracted by lots of additional bolt-on services; when your equipment needs attention, we’ll carry out conveyor troubleshooting and fix the problem to get you back operational as quickly as possible.

Learn more About Us and how we can help to keep your, and the UK's conveyors rolling, by preventing and fixing common conveyor belt problems.

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we offer free conveyor assessments

Not sure of the state of your conveyors? Get a free assessment to see what conveyor services would suit you.

We'll call to arrange a convenient time and date to visit your site. While on site we'll conduct an assessment of your system, think of it as an MOT. Our engineer will then advise whether you need a conveyor service, parts replacing or other essential work.

We’ll flag any areas of concern and the works needed to prevent future problems, and let you know if there’s anything more immediate that you need to address. 

Request your FREE, no-obligation conveyor equipment assessment today!

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Joloda Conveyor Services

We are the UK's leading conveyor solution and support partner and we help businesses with complete conveyor systems and ongoing maintenance support to increase their operational efficiencies and minimise downtime.

With a call centre that's open around the clock 24/7, 365 days a year and a 99% first-time-fix rate, our national network of mechanical/electrical trained engineers are in fully stocked vans meaning we can get you operational within a couple of hours.

Whether you need complete conveyor systems, maintenance services, or some free conveyor system or maintenance advice, we're always there to keep your conveyors rolling.

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