We all know that we must cater for the increasing demands of today’s customers — especially with delivery and fulfilment. But we also know that profits matter. So what if you could implement a fulfilment solution like Ship From Store that delights the customer and increases your profits?
Software solutions are out there to make activities like Ship From Store possible. Not every retailer knows how it’s done, so in this article, we show you.
The first step involves switching to omnichannel retail. This way, data from every part of your business is centralised, giving greater visibility of your entire business. This centralised data opens a wealth of opportunities, such as replacing guesswork with data-led decisions, automating systems and providing better customer experiences. And, it allows you to offer Ship From Store.
What is Ship From Store?
A Ship from Store strategy is a fulfillment method where the retailer fulfills a customer's online order from the nearest physical store instead of a warehouse. Warehouses can often be thousands of kilometres away, making the fulfilment process not just time-consuming but expensive.
And as all retailers know, today’s customers have high expectations (and little patience), and retailers can’t afford to waste money. That’s why ship from store — aka decentralised fulfilment is so advantageous.
Another advantage of Ship From Store is that it makes all of your assets work harder. It gives you more bang for your buck. It transforms the role of your brick and mortar store from a mere shopping location to a multitasking fulfilment hub. (Or a multitasking moneymaking machine, whichever way you look at it.)
Advantages of a Ship From Store strategy
Faster delivery times and reduced shipping costs-
Customers have two major considerations before they complete their order: speed of delivery and shipping cost. They want the goods faster than your competitor can offer — at the lowest price. Better still, they’d like free shipping, whenever possible, thanks very much.
With software, a Ship From Store strategy makes this possible. Directly shipping from a store where inventory is readily available and closest to the customer dramatically reduces delivery times — even sometimes enabling same-day delivery.
The right point of sale software does a lot of the thinking for you. For example, stores within a specific region are set up in a prioritisation order. In other words, your software can find the best outlet with available stock to fulfil that particular order.
Have optimised inventory that’s more often in stock-
Switching to software that allows Ship From Store is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only can you now compete with or even outshine your competition, but you give each local store more advantages.
What sort of advantages?
Now that you have the right POS software, retailers can offer live stock levels in-store. This means shoppers can jump onto the online store and see what is available, and where it is located, in real time. And by displaying stock levels in this way, you can offer Click & Collect, which is a seriously good revenue earner.
Things keep getting better.
There’s also another benefit. You’ll hold more stock in each store by switching to this decentralised fulfilment strategy. So when walk-in customers visit, there’s more stock displayed. And with more inventory available, it makes it easier for customers to buy more. Right there, on the spot.
Look at the convenience you now offer your customers:
- Rapid home delivery by shipping from nearby stores
- Live stock availability levels in store (visible on your website)
- Click & Collect, statistically proven to bring in more revenue
- More potential to offer cheaper or free freight, as delivery costs have decreased
Say goodbye to profit-wasting markdowns-
Using a Ship From Store strategy is also economical. It lets you align the demand and needs of one location with the available inventory in another. The result? You dramatically reduce the need for markdowns as more stock is readily available for purchase. It doesn’t sit where it’s not wanted. This keeps your profit margin higher while also moving products more quickly.
You’re winning again.
Now that we can see the benefits of a Ship From Store strategy, let’s look at how you can make this happen.
Setting up a successful Ship From Store strategy
Optimise your store operations and space-
If you're shipping a product from your store, the goods must be picked and packed there. This on-site fulfilment will have to be done by your in-store staff (unless your success determines the need for designated dispatch staff). So allow time to train your staff and set up protocols and systems.
Carve out a dedicated workspace in your store to allow your staff to manage the orders. Don’t forget to have all the right tools and equipment, such as packaging materials and labels.
It's essential to train your store staff on how to fulfil these orders. Choosing the right package size, being mindful of breakage and safety issues and how to fulfil orders efficiently to meet deadlines are all important.
Have the right software systems, processes & partners
A successful Ship From Store model requires having the right systems, processes, and fulfillment partners. If you try to run this manually or with basic systems, your staff and customers will be exceedingly frustrated in no time.
Choose your retail POS system carefully — one that can:
- Integrate your bricks and clicks – your eCommerce store and physical brick & mortar stores and enable unified inventory management processes
- Recognise the customer’s location, then allow your system to set a workflow to allocate stock from a list of prioritised stores within the region
- Alert store staff live at the POS that they need to fulfil the orders as they come in
- Ensure that inventory is continuously and automatically replenished in stores to meet both online and walk-in demand
- Provide real-time management to ensure all locations are fulfilling orders
- Provide the opportunity to reassign orders to alternative stores that have the available resources
- Enable your store employees to arrange shipping with couriers in a streamlined, automated way (for an excellent example, check out our Retail Express and Shippit integration)
The competitive advantage bricks & clicks retailers need
eCommerce sales remain strong in Australia and New Zealand even after physical store doors have reopened after Covid. After discovering online shopping, consumers have declared that they like it. But they also like in-store shopping, too. And that’s why it’s imperative to switch to an omnichannel retail strategy so you can cater to shoppers wherever they are.
Switch to better omnichannel retail software that allows Ship From Store, and you’ll have a lot to look forward to:
- Faster delivery times
- Reduced shipping costs
- inventory that’s cleverly optimised, so items are more often in stock
- No more profit-wasting markdowns due to stock held in the wrong places
- Delighted customers
- Improved branding — due to those delighted customers