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Top 11 Cities for Pop-up Fulfillment - Infographic

Winning e-commerce customers means fast, low-cost delivery. Ultimately, this requires getting your product closer to your customers.

Pop-up fulfillment is a way for retailers to add fulfillment centers quickly. You can pop-up capacity when and where you need it. It takes half the time to set-up (three weeks vs. three months) and costs a fraction of the traditional solutions because there are no long-term commitments or service fees.

Retailers have started popping-up fulfillment centers across North America. The additional capacity is helping them compete with Amazon’s delivery speed and improve customer satisfaction.

Here are the 11 most popular cities for pop-up fulfillment centers in the United States. These centers tend to be located near centralized population hubs, large airports and sea ports.

  1. Los Angeles, California
  2. Edison, New Jersey
  3. Chicago, Illinois
  4. Indianapolis, Indiana
  5. Allentown, Pennsylvania
  6. Seattle, Washington
  7. Atlanta, Georgia
  8. Dallas, Texas
  9. Louisville, Kentucky
  10. Denver, Colorado
  11. Orlando, Florida

Pop-up fulfillment can be particularly useful during promotional or peak periods when sales volumes peak, putting strain on existing infrastructure.

During peak seasons, there is a bump in pop-up fulfillment centers in these three cities:

  1. Seattle, Washington
  2. Edison, New Jersey
  3. Indianapolis, Indianapolis

FLEXE created the following infographic to illustrate how and where pop-up fulfillment is being used:

Pop-up fulfillment is an old idea with a new twist. Retailers have been popping-up distribution space to add capacity for years, but it has been a clunky and expensive process.

Adding extra capacity to supplement a short, three-month peak, usually meant committing to a full year lease and sometimes a service contract costing upwards of $250K. Today, technology exists that makes this process on-demand.

Essentially, retailers are trading fixed costs—like service contracts and long-term sub-leases—for variable costs—such as temporary fulfillment centers with no long-term commitments or service fees.

Through this strategy, smaller companies can afford to add new distribution points, and larger retailers can add capacity to alleviate strain on their existing fulfillment centers.

For example, when Cyber Monday hits a company like Urban Outfitters or Walmart their warehouse capacity goes to about 80%. Online sales go through the roof and they are trying to push orders through a pipeline that just can’t hold that volume. Pop-up fulfillment provides a relief valve to help them manage that extra 5 to 10% volume for a very short period of time. They can continue meeting their customer promise and deliver on their baseline service standards with minimal disruption and cost.

For smaller retailers, one might see them use pop-up fulfillment to add temporary fulfillment centers that get them closer to their customers during peak season. They could now offer things like one- or same-day delivery on certain product lines and improve sales conversion rates by offering free shipping.

As the market for same-day and instant delivery grows, services like pop-up fulfillment will become more prevalent across the U.S. What cities could you use a pop-up fulfillment center in?