Warehouse take-up driven by ecommerce

Ecommerce has signalled great growth in warehouse takeup and property value. It's never been a better time to invest in London warehouses with ecommerce businesses here to stay.


There has clearly been a surging shift in retail to ecommerce since the likes of Amazon has completely changed buyer behaviour in the UK. Locations of warehouses for ecommerce businesses are driven by demand, making London one of the top locations in the UK. The great amount of takeup has increased the land values of warehouses averaging now around £7 per square feet.   

Despite the growth in ecommerce activity, Heathrow remains the greatest logistics site. It’s the hub of about 34% of non-EU UK exports. Heathrow airport hosts over seventy-six thousand jobs making it the largest employment site in Europe! The need to expand cargo capacity and warehouse units is more apparent today.

Overall, the global trend of ecommerce means warehouses have long-term opportunities and it’s a great time to invest in them. Also, considering that retail sales have dropped to a record lowest (since 1995) just in May, 2019. The retail industry total annum sales already decreased by 2.7% last year.   

To add to the value of warehouses, AI and automation tech is increasingly being adopted and will certainly enhance the industry. For example, Ocado the largest online (only) grocery has been using a cloud-based machine learning model to monitor robot performance, ‘swarm learning’ (one robot able to share its learning with others in its swarm) and much more.   

Consequent to the need to apply innovative tech to meet the increasing demands and expectations, there are several trends we can see carrying out.  

  • Repetitive mechanised tasks e.g. pallet stacking, lifting, placing on conveyors, sorting; being automated with smart product to picker systems, ASRS (automatic storage and retrieval systems) and robots.  
  • Collaborative robots supporting human employees in real time with navigating through the warehouses and finding the best routes to/from loading bays  
  • Innovative robotic hands specialising in ‘product to picker’ and capable of sensing i.e. weight, fragility, shape, contents etc. when handling various items.  
  • Drones carrying out short distance transport requirements   

Amazon is already a leader in using AI to increase productivity and efficiency. It will be great for those making use of warehouses to adopt advanced automation and AI to their supply chains as the tech becomes more readily available.  

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