Pandemic rush to online shopping sparks interest in 'Airbnb' warehouses

Key Points
  • The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift to online shopping, as housebound consumers ordered everything from hand sanitizer and groceries to office supplies and exercise equipment.
  • Retailers have rushed to secure more space to fulfill online orders, driving demand for on-demand warehouse services provided by the likes of UPS and XPO Logistics. 
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The coronavirus pandemic has forced retailers to get creative when it comes to how they sell, ship and, increasingly, store their goods. 

Facing a surge in e-commerce activity, big retailers are turning to a relatively new storage method, known as on-demand warehouses. The idea has been compared to Airbnb, since it allows retailers to browse and rent unused warehouse space, without having to lease or build an entire facility. Retailers rent the space on a pay-as-you-go basis, letting them scale up or down on space depending on their needs. 

Certain companies could stand to benefit from the trend.

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