It goes without saying, in retail, business is tough. The competition is increasing on an almost daily basis, and margins have never been so tight.
With online revenues being the foremost revenue channel for many retail operations, organisations are always looking for new ways to position themselves above their competitors. This is one of the reasons why Ship-From-Store presents itself as such an appealing proposition.
What is Ship-From-Store?
A Ship-From-Store approach essentially treats each retail store as a miniature distribution centre and uses the stock that they have in-store to fulfil orders made online. One of the most significant advantages of this option is that the overall size of your retail business almost becomes irrelevant.
Why is it a good idea?
Let’s look at this from a consumer perspective first of all. They visit your website and the item they want is out of stock and won’t be available for fulfilment for another 4 weeks. How does that customer feel and what is their likely next action? Will, they visit their local store and pay travel expenses to get there if they think the item is out of stock? Probably not. Will they look for an alternative online? Most likely.
For the retailer, this impacts their overall service offering and of course their bottom line. Ship-From-Store changes this.
With this new strategy, the fulfilment of online orders will be carried out using stock that is housed in-store.
What this means is:
- Customers who are located close to the retailer outlet receive their orders more quickly
- It reduces a retailers shipping costs as a courier would be picking up from store and delivering to a customer that is in close proximity
- It helps boost sell-through revenues for the retail operation
- It improves the customer experience significantly, and
- It delivers a superior stock-management strategy for the overall business.
Another huge benefit of Ship-From-Store for smaller retailers is that it means more boutique-style retail outfits can now expand their business without needing to invest in costly warehousing and distribution centres.
If you are considering Ship-From-Store, or simply looking for new ways to boost your revenue and improve your offering, then you aren’t alone; a third of retailers with a traditional ‘bricks-and-mortar’ presence have already included a plan to roll out this strategy in their 2018/2019 strategies.
Your inventory will be better managed
In retail, one of the constant concerns is inventory. If your stock turnover is down and you are literally sitting on stock it could start to impact your profits and overall business effectiveness.
Ship-From-Store can help to boost sales while helping to better manage your overall spread of inventory across the business. For instance, if a retailer is sending orders out from a distribution centre and the stock runs dry the chances are that sale with be lost. However, if a store has that particular item in stock, with Ship-From-Store you will sell the stock you have on hand and have satisfied customers.
Your customers will approve
Not only will the implementation of a Ship-From-Store approach enable you to keep up with your competition, but it will also significantly boost the experience you offer to your customers.
As we’ve already mentioned, this is something that retailers of all sizes can and will benefit from. When a customer enters a store, be that online or bricks-and-mortar, there are certain standards they expect as a minimum. Where service, shipping, and returns are concerned; these standards are the same regardless of the size of your operation.
Ship-From-Store helps provide retailers of all sizes the opportunity to deliver an efficient and low-cost fulfillment service to their customers by transforming the shelves of their stores into miniature distribution centres.
Ship-From-Store benefits both B2C and B2B
Regardless of whether you sell to the general public or to other businesses, you can adopt and implement a Ship-From-Store approach to your fulfilment. Both sets of clients have the same demand for quick shipments, and both sets of customers demand as near to instant gratification as possible.
Technology is a huge enabler in any type of business, and Ship-From-Store is no exception to that rule. Gone are the days where a shift in strategy requires a mammoth investment and intensive organisational training.
In the past, management of multichannel and multisite operations on this scale would have required a project team to implement the concept and intense ongoing management. However, by harnessing the power of cloud technologies, this gives each location complete ownership.
The software that is available can even provide your business with customised shipping labels, instant notifications, and other time-saving tools that can help ensure your organisation retains a professional image and delivers a high-quality service at all times.
On-demand delivery is already here. When a customer decides they want something, the chances are, they want to get their hands on their desired product as quickly and hassle-free as possible.
In any retail survey conducted with consumers, quick delivery is always a key attribute that people look for when deciding where to spend their money. In fact, consumers are often willing to pay more in order to receive their goods more quickly.
This game-changing strategy essentially makes all in-store products available to both online and walk-in customers. If you have a booming online business, why turn customers away or cause them to face unnecessary delays when you have the stock to fulfil their order within your business?
It is a revolutionary retail model that has been made possible through advancements in technology, and is being driven by consumer demand for quicker access to goods. And when Ship-From-Store can save larger retailers from having to invest in more warehousing space, save money on shipping, and provide a more efficient service for their customers – well, it just makes sense.
The Playhouse Group regularly consults on, and assists businesses to optimise their logistics models and has rolled out advanced logistics offerings like Ship-From-Store and Click and Collect for clients like Target Australia and Toys-R-Us. If you are interested in rolling out Ship-From-Store for your business get in contact with The Playhouse Group for a free consultation.