Online commerce will soon be 10 percent of all retail, and it is growing at an exponential rate. We click and pay, and, if it’s not a digital good, the good arrives at our home a few days later. Remember ‘allow six to eight weeks for delivery?’ That’s gone. Everything comes fast. And if it isn’t in stock, we are notified. When it is shipped, we are notified. We can track our packages online, following them stop by stop.
The goods go straight from the manufacturer to the warehouse and then to our homes, eliminating the display racks, store fronts, retail outlets, salespeople, and everything else in between those stages. The most unassuming stage – and the stage that is increasingly important in modern commerce – is that warehousing stage, where products rest and wait for consumer volition to awake them from their slumber.
The warehouse has been a feature of the commercial world since the most ancient times. Jesus even has a parable that involves a grain warehouser who amasses ever more grain without selling any and then finally dies. Yes, that’s how the story ends.
The warehouse in our times is assuming ever-greater importance. The globalization and digitization of commerce has turned the warehouse from a useful institution into the very heart of commercial life.
This post was published at Mises Canada on DECEMBER 30, 2016.