With the growth of the internet, came the growth of online businesses.
Thanks to increasingly sophisticated information and communications technology, the virtual scale of e-business is vast, with everything from recruitment and payments processing to retail and production control now offered via the internet.
In the retail sector, for example, many have realised the benefits of going online, including fewer barriers to entry, lower overheads, fewer “middle man” costs and lower marketing costs. At first, it was the large retailers who opened online stores, but recent years have seen small business owners take advantage of e-commerce platforms, like Shopify, to open their own online stores.
UK business magazine, Business Zone, recently noted that “There has never been a better time for small businesses to be selling online.“
E-commerce in Africa
E-commerce start-ups are emerging in droves across the globe, including in Africa. E-commerce allows small business owners to operate beyond the limits of their own geographical regions, into markets they may not have had access to before.
An article in Fortune magazine quoted Sim Shagaya, Google’s first African representative and now CEO of Konga (one of West Africa’s largest e-commerce sites), as saying, “What’s going to dominate the African e-commerce reality is millions of SMEs trading in countries and across borders.”
Self-storage as a neat solution for e-businesses
Not everything can be done online. E-commerce is also about actual products that have to be stocked, stored and delivered to customers. So while small business owners operating online shops may not need an actual shop-front or store, they do need storage space.
Increasingly, small online businesses are using flexible self-storage options to store their products and materials. Why? Short notice periods mean they’re not tied into long contracts, so they can temporarily “close up shop” in quiet seasons. Storage unit rentals are affordable, even near prime business hubs. Also, the facilities and security on offer tend to be of excellent quality – making the units a much better proposition than just finding a garage to rent somewhere.
How XtraSpace can help
At XtraSpace, we offer e-businesses much more than just a storage solution. We also:
- provide affordable, efficient distribution services, getting your products to customers reliably and on time
- offer Flexi Office space with shared use of facilities like professionally appointed meeting rooms, so you can maintain affordable office space, storage facilities and logistical support at the same location (this minimises transport costs and improves efficiency)
- provide reception services, onsite courier services and a range of other business services, making it unnecessary for you to be onsite every day to handle tasks like taking in deliveries
- flexible lease options, so you can change your office and storage space in keeping with your business needs (if you run a gift shop, for example, and need more space in the run-up to Christmas, that can easily be arranged in advance).
Our business services include end-to-end management of your supply chain, so we can deal with storage systems and the details of distribution for you, if you wish. That includes receiving and packing goods, as well as delivering them.
With XtraSpace branches across the country, you can also store stock at several key locations, to ensure faster delivery of items to your customers.