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Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Lead
Having a successful omnichannel supply chain in place is proving vital to businesses looking to embrace customer expectations, as well as for adapting to an ever-changing retail landscape. Joining up channels which work together efficiently, means retailers have been able to see advantages not only to shoppers, but to themselves too. One part of the supply chain is Ship from Store.
As the name suggests, Ship from Store brings products to customers directly from stores, rather than relying on the distribution centre. Orders are first placed online, and fed through to a sales order management system which checks and confirms availability. The items are then picked in store wherever there is stock availability, for dispatch from that location directly to the customer.
Algorithms ensure that shipping occurs from the best geographic location, and that stock availability is maintained. This also involves anticipating any additional loads that may occur and maintaining real-time visibility of all stock, something that Retail Assist’s omnichannel supply chain solution, Merret, is designed to do.
The primary point of importance is that Ship from Store is a great way to maximise sales of full-price stock, rather than reduce items for sale. An example comes in the notion that stores in different areas may experience demand for different products. What sells highly in one location, may not in another. As a result of this, a store may be left with excess stock they are forced to discount or dispose of. Rather than do this, however, Ship from Store can be utilised to run the stock down, whilst maintaining profitability.
From a customer viewpoint, Ship from Store can create a number of positive scenarios. Someone visiting a retailer that finds an item they wished to purchase out of stock in that location, has the potential to order and pay for it there and then, to be shipped from a store that does have it, directly to them. Not only is the product received and the customer satisfied, a positive view of the retailer as an effective bricks and mortar location is gained, and repeat visits rendered more likely. The ultimate customer experience! The sale is also secured, where there would be a potential for custom to be taken to a rival. The same applies to those ordering online; customers encountering ‘out of stock’ items may well move on to the next retailer that has the item in stock. Using Ship from Store reduces the chances of this ever happening, as inventories are checked across the entire chain of locations.
In a similar way, there are many scenarios around returning products that Ship from Store helps with. Customers wishing to return an item they have ordered online can avoid the prospect of repackaging and posting an item back, but return it to a store convenient to them. This brings inevitable advantages in customer satisfaction, as well as promoting the store, and providing the opportunity for any ‘impulse’ purchasing and upselling gained as a result of bringing them in.
A retailer can also reduce expensive shipping costs; sending items out from locations as close as possible to the customer will save money, as well as time. This also benefits the consumer, with the potential to exceed their expectations on delivery times.
If you have any further questions about Ship from Store, or want to invest in your retail IT infrastructure in order to introduce omnichannel fulfilment methods, please get in touch with us!