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Online giant ramps up delivery from Richmond warehouse

Who doesn’t like the almost-instant gratification they experience when shopping online? Search. Click. And your package arrives right on your doorstep, almost magically, about a day or so later.
Helping provide next delivery of goods ordered online through the world’s second-largest e-tailer, using its new east Richmond warehouse are Claude Lachance, operations centre manager (left) and Jay Yong,’s country manager. Photo by Philip Raphael/Richmond News
Who doesn’t like the almost-instant gratification they experience when shopping online?

Search. Click. And your package arrives right on your doorstep, almost magically, about a day or so later.

Well, the world’s second-largest online retailer,, “hatched” its plan Tuesday to help provide just that for customers across Western Canada when it officially opened a brand new warehouse in east Richmond.

James Merk,’s director of brand marketing, told the Richmond Newsa day before the facility’s ribbon-cutting that customers in the region will now be able to shop from the e-tailer’s catalogue of 18 million or so products and expect to get pretty much whatever they ordered on their doorstep as early as the next day.

Previously, the wait for Canadian customers of the Los Angeles-based company was four to five days, as orders for the market north of the border were processed out of a warehouse in another “Richmond” — Richmond Hill, Ontario.

The new facility here will serve customers as far east as Saskatchewan and northwards into the Yukon and North West Territories, said Jay Yong,’s country manager.

“If you order before 10 a.m., you can expect delivery by the next day,” Yong said, adding orders after 3 p.m. will fall into the two-day delivery window.

Merk said the move to open the 64,000-square-foot facility in Richmond was a customer-focused initiative in an ultra competitive online shopping marketplace that is led by the likes of Seattle-headquartered which already has a 200,000-square-foot warehouse on Annacis Island in Delta that serves western Canada.

“Being able to give our customers a delivery time of one or two days is really exciting,” said Merk, who laughed when asked if will be following’s venture into fast delivery using drones.

“No, we’re not going there just yet,” he said.

But to help speed up conventional delivery — which will be handled by Purolator and Canada Post — specifically chose Richmond for its close proximity to Vancouver International Airport to send shipments via air. Plus, since Richmond is also close to sea port facilities, incoming products from China are readily accessible.

The move to put down roots here is also designed to boost’s profile for consumers who may have not heard of it before in this area.

“Our name will now start popping up in other places, especially on social media,” Merk said, adding marketing efforts will be ramped up as looks to increase its presence and market share. was founded in 2001, initially as an online store for computer parts. That quickly grew to the point where shoppers can now choose from electronics and apparel to fragrances and sports equipment, and just about everything else in between.

In 2014, reported revenue of $2.7 billion.

In comparison, the online king of sales,, had revenue of close to $89 billion for the same time period

Last year, Forbes Magazinelisted, which has 2,600 employees, as the 178th largest private company in the U.S. based on those with at least $2 billion in revenue.

At the moment,’s activity at the new Richmond warehouse will employ 10 full-time workers. Currently, it is processing about 2,000 orders a day, using about two thirds of the facility where staff ride specially designed man-lifts that carry them to rows of shelving stretching up several storeys to pick out items from bins of products.

From there, orders are checked, packed, and weighed to ensure they have the right collection of products, then sent on their way.

Merk said the Richmond system, while automated, is not the highest level of technology employs at some of its bigger warehouses. The largest, in Indianapolis, covers 500,000-square-feet and processes 50,000 orders a day.

Capacity in Richmond is pegged at around 5,000 orders a day. Other satellite warehouses are located in New Jersey, Tennessee, and Toronto.

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