Ship-from-Store Program to Bridge Omnichannel Gaps

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(05/16/18) Read more about how your business could benefit from a ship-from-store program

Consumers today have more choices and ways to shop than ever before. Customer retention and satisfaction remain the highest priorities for retailers looking to stand out in an increasingly competitive landscape, and one way retailers appeal to online shoppers is through free and expedited shipping. 

Research shows that delivery time and shipping costs are the two most significant factors in making an online purchase, and a majority of consumers expect two-day delivery, or sooner, as the norm. How can omnichannel retailers offer quick, affordable shipping without taking a massive hit?

Many legacy, big-box, and mid-market multichannel retailers have been able to stay competitive by implementing ship-from-store (SFS) strategies, leveraging their storefront locations as order fulfillment centers. The ship-from-store model allows retailers to maximize inventory and fulfill orders more quickly and at a lower cost—a win-win for business and buyer. 

A successful ship-from-store program can help bridge omnichannel gaps—done right, the brick-and-mortar location serves triple duty as a warehouse, distribution center, and place of sale. For instance, imagine a retailer has locations in Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Miami and New York. Collectively, when outfitted with the proper equipment, they can ship quickly and inexpensively to most, if not all, of their online US customers. 

Retailers with ship-from-store programs also have the ability to share inventory with one another. This is perhaps the greatest advantage, as it encourages turnover and frees up space for newer, more relevant products on the floor. Inventory sharing allows stores to send items to locations where there’s greater demand in order to avoid “out of stock” messages. Alternatively, in slower markets, sharing inventory can reduce the need for discounts on overstock. 

Speed has never been more important than in the digital age

These benefits provide incentive to explore ship-from-store options, and at Dehnco we want to help you and your business throughout the process to ensure a smooth, successful transition. 

One significant challenge in implementing a SFS model is finding and making physical space for pack and ship stations. One common misconception is that you need tons of space to implement a SFS program, when, in reality, all you need are modular, multipurpose stations with thoughtfully designed storage components. The pack and ship industry has all but transformed over the last ten years and we can only predict what’s to come. Build flexibility into your setup and anticipate your future needs. Leave room for adaptability. 

Not every store needs an SFS center. Identify your most valuable real estate and well-staffed stores in each zone and start there. Implementing a ship-from-store program will require additional employee training and procedural and structural change -- important costs to consider.  

Rushing to implement SFS modules to fulfill a short-term need might work for a while, but if you don’t think sustainably and consider how changes in packaging, shipping, product mix, and customer expectations may affect the process down the road, it will end up costing more in the long term. 

Learn more about our Ship-from-Store Solutions.

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Troy Walters
Lafayette Instrument Company