Ecommerce direct-to-consumer brands have many considerations to make when it comes to how their product will be stored, including the temperature of the warehouse. The storage temperature is a critical factor in keeping inventory in mint condition prior to shipping. Products that do not require cold storage are most often held in what is known as ambient storage. Learn more about what ambient storage is and why it's so important.
The term refers to storing goods at ambient temperature, which is often the same as the natural indoor environment. Typically, an ambient temperature is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Ambient temperature is often confused with room temperature, which can be more subjective and is typically a temperature range at which most people feel comfortable. While room temperature is often measured subjectively by feel, ambient temperature is measured objectively in degrees.
Ambient temperature is the actual temperature in the room. If a room's temperature is hotter than the determined ambient range, it's unsuitable for items that require ambient storage. Storing goods at ambient temperature is ideal for a variety of raw materials, like some raw pharmaceutical materials and processed foods in cans or boxes. It’s common for items that don’t have specific storage temperature requirements—think clothing, for example—to be kept in ambient storage.
Ambient storage is not a viable solution for goods that must stay below 70 degrees or so—these items will require cool or refrigerated storage. Similarly, some inventory—certain live plants, for example—require warm or humid storage areas.
Many warehouses today offer custom temperatures at ambient storage, meaning they can meet different temperature-related requirements for a variety of products. Their costs may depend on geographical location and how much energy they need to maintain suitable temperatures. In other words, a warehouse in a colder climate like Chicago may charge more to keep an ambient temperature of 75 degrees than a warehouse in a temperate climate like California would. Warehouses that provide ambient-temperature storage carefully monitor the environment and inventory to ensure they’re meeting their promised deliverables. The conditions in the warehouse are designed to prevent tampering or other forms of inventory damage.
Ambient storage is warmer than any form of chilled or cold storage. Chilled storage includes temperature-control measures for perishable or sensitive goods, and typically uses refrigeration. Cold storage at even lower temperatures is available for frozen goods.Typically, the degrees of temperature-controlled storage fall into the following ranges, with temperatures in Fahrenheit:
Items that require cold or chilled storage typically require special transport methods to maintain this temperature, unlike ambient-storage goods.
In some cases, different or processed forms of the same product may require different storage methods. For instance, fresh milk requires cold storage to prevent spoilage. However, evaporated milk in a can may be stored for a long period at an ambient temperature.
For ecommerce businesses, ambient storage is important for quality control and avoiding unnecessary expenses in inventory management. The main benefits are:
Some foods or chemicals require ambient storage for maximizing safety or protecting integrity. Many products can be damaged by extreme hot or cold temperatures. For example, canned beverages could freeze and expand if kept too cold, while vitamins could start to lose their potency at high temperatures. In these cases, keeping the goods at the right temperature ensures they’re not ruined.
Many facilities that offer ambient storage are also prepared to meet heightened seasonal demand and offer quality control for inventory deliveries before the stock is shelved.
While not all products will be ruined at the wrong temperature, some will suffer in quality. For instance, candies may soften and stick to each other in warmer rooms. While the product is still edible, it’s no longer in its ideal condition and less likely to satisfy a customer. Storing a product at the wrong temperature runs the risk of damaging a brand’s reputation.
Properly storing any goods that require ambient temperature for preservation cuts down on potential waste, making for a more efficient warehouse and lower costs for all parties involved.
If goods are ruined, spoiled, or damaged due to improper storage, the customer is likely to seek a refund. By outsourcing fulfillment to an ambient storage facility, businesses can rest assured they’re working with reliable shippers that will ensure ideal temperature maintenance at all times. These warehouses understand that proper storage procedures help minimize unnecessary returns and refunds.
Ambient storage is an important concern for anyone who may potentially lose money from improper storage. Tying in the previous point, customer dissatisfaction is tied to higher revenue loss. Ambient storage optimizes revenue by ensuring the product is kept in mint condition and protecting the company's reputation.
Whether you’re planning to launch a direct-to-consumer brand or already operate one, storage temperature is an important consideration. When you work with reliable ambient storage providers, your fulfillment processes become more streamlined. To learn more about our ambient storage capabilities, reach out to a fulfillment expert at Airhouse today.
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