The five key benefits of in-store fulfillment
by The team at Viare on March 15, 2023
Why consider the in-store fulfillment model in your omnichannel strategy
Ecommerce is on the rise. For retailers this means increasing challenges around omnichannel fulfillment. For example, if delivery times are too long, customers will opt to shop elsewhere. Research from McKinsey shows that over 90% of US online customers expect free shipping within a couple of days. So what’s the answer?
One solution gaining popularity within omnichannel fulfillment strategy is in-store fulfillment, which involves using physical retail locations to fulfill online orders.
Among improved customer experience, there are plenty of other tangible benefits to an in-store fulfillment strategy:
- Improve store performance and staff experience
- Increased online sales
- Reduced cost to service
- Increase dispatch speeds
- Improved inventory accuracy
In this blog, we’ll discuss each and how it can help retailers streamline their operations, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.
What is in-store fulfillment?
Sometimes known as ship-from-store, in-store fulfillment is an omnichannel retail strategy that involves leveraging retail stores as miniature distribution centres. With this strategy, eCommerce orders can be fulfilled and shipped to customers from either the primary distribution centre or a nearby store. By implementing multiple stores as fulfillment options, retailers can alleviate some of the pressure on their distribution centres. They can also provide customers with access to more inventory and quicker delivery times, while giving them more options for returns and exchanges.
This is where the key advantage of the in-store fulfillment model lies; in its ability to boost the customer experience. Customers today expect flexibility and convenience. For example, 68% of customers reported convenient fulfillment options such as buying from one store, while collecting from another, were top of the list in their purchasing decision according to a survey by Newstore. Let's take a closer look at five of the other key advantages associated with in-store fulfillment.
The five benefits of the in-store fulfillment model in your omnichannel strategy
When implemented successfully, in-store fulfillment offers retailers a range of benefits.
1: Drive store performance and improve staff experience
In-store fulfillment not only benefits online customers, but it also has a positive impact on the overall performance of physical stores. By using stores as distribution centres, retailers can boost their sales and reduce their inventory carrying costs. Not only that, but staff can also benefit from in-store fulfillment as it allows them to take on new roles and responsibilities, especially when in-store fulfillment is being driven by purpose-built technology. According to recent Shopify research, 39% of retailers say they’re investing in improving the tools and technologies employees use to do their day-to-day work.
2: Grow online sales
In-store fulfillment can help to increase online sales by providing customers with access to a wider range of products available in nearby stores. Retailers can then expand their online inventory without having to increase their warehousing or storage capacity. By leveraging in-store inventory, retailers can offer a greater variety of products online, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and sales. Viare's clients have reported up to a 60% increase in online sales after implementing in-store fulfillment, highlighting the significant impact this strategy can have on growing the online side of a business.
Click & Collect, a key element of in-store fulfillment, makes up approximately 30% to 40% of online sales for our clients, with the best-in-class now pushing upwards of 60%
3: Distributed order management reduces costs
By using nearby stores as distribution centres, retailers can significantly reduce the cost to pick, pack, dispatch, and deliver each order. This is because orders can be fulfilled from the closest store, resulting in shorter delivery times and lower transportation costs.
While you may need to invest in additional training to make sure your employees are picking and packing correctly, giving them new technology like digital picking can make it much easier, while reducing the amount of human error.
4: In-store fulfillment increases dispatch speeds
Using nearby stores as distribution centres will inevitably speed up the dispatch process. By optimising the fulfillment process and harnessing existing resources, retailers can reduce the time it takes to fulfill and dispatch orders, which boosts both efficiency and customer satisfaction. Our clients have reported a 300% increase in dispatch speed during peak trade, using our unique pull-based logic.
Additionally, in-store staff can take on new roles and responsibilities, such as picking and packing orders, which can further streamline the fulfillment process and improve dispatch speeds.
5: Improve inventory accuracy
In-store fulfillment provides real-time updates on product availability and stock levels. By using stores as distribution centres, retailers can centralise their inventory and gain better visibility into their stock levels across all channels. This allows for more accurate inventory tracking and management, reducing the risk of over- or under-selling products. The result is a more efficient and effective inventory management system that can help retailers to make better business decisions and improve the overall customer experience.
Implement in-store fulfillment with Viare
The Viare order management system is designed to help retailers achieve a streamlined and more efficient in-store fulfillment model. For example, retailers that are taking a customer-first approach are leveraging the power of Click & Collect, which gives their customers the option of only selecting items which can be collected today, i.e. at the collection store, or adding items which will be sent in for collection. The Click & Collect feature of the Viare solution is easy to use, which ensures staff can efficiently process Click & Collect orders for customers.
Viare keeps track of your inventory in near real-time and ensures you're able to present your customers with accurate inventory levels; i.e. you’re not promising to sell them something that’s not in stock. With increased inventory accuracy and buffer stock management, you can reduce cancelled orders and out-of-stocks, all of which boost the customer experience.
When successfully implemented, the in-store fulfillment model will help retailers streamline their fulfillment process, reduce transportation costs, and centralise inventory management.
Don't just take our word for it. Check out how Briscoes, Rebel Sport and Living & Giving are benefitting from harnessing the power of Viare's order management solution.
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