Logistics

In-Store Fulfillment as a Driver of Omnichannel Commerce

Guide on how incorporating In-Store Fulfillment via retail stores can help Direct-to-consumer brands save costs, improve fulfillment time and solve challenges.

Team Hopstack
January 12, 2023
In-Store Fulfillment as a Driver of Omnichannel Commerce

In the last few decades, there has been a massive shift in the way people shop, increasing the demand for different fulfillment options and strategies. E-commerce has dramatically changed how we look at traditional commerce and the supply chain. If a person owns a physical brick-and-mortar store and an online storefront, he is probably familiar with Omnichannel Fulfillment and the complexities it brings to the table.

In today's day and age, customers have high expectations from the businesses they shop from. They expect a seamless customer experience and faster delivery speed, and it is crucial to provide customers with everything they want to keep up with the competition.

Before we go ahead, we must understand what the Omnichannel Fulfillment method means. In a nutshell, the Omnichannel Fulfillment strategy is the method of processing orders from picking to shipping that is sold across Warehouses, Distribution Centers, and Physical Stores. Providing a seamless Omnichannel experience has always been a priority for many businesses.

But, there is a lot to handle regarding this fulfillment strategy. According to research, industry leaders believe Ship From Store or In-Store Fulfillment is the way to go when it comes to implementing a solid Omnichannel Strategy. This article will be talking primarily about In-Store Fulfillment and how it can help in supercharging the fulfillment strategy and take the business to new heights.

What is In-Store Fulfillment?

In-Store Fulfillment is a fulfillment strategy that is predominantly part of Omnichannel Fulfillment options that fulfill orders from physical stores and outlets instead of a warehouse. The idea behind In-Store Fulfillment is simple—stores are located at prime locations.
They are closer to consumers than traditional warehouses, which means that In-Store Fulfillment requires less lead time to fulfill orders and is more cost-effective in shipping. Hence, it is vital to implement a fulfillment strategy that allows shipping from the store effortlessly. According to research, around fifty percent of customers shop elsewhere when delivery times from omnichannel businesses are too long.

This means it is just not enough to implement an Omnichannel Fulfillment platform. Businesses need to make sure every component of that strategy, like In-Store Fulfillment, works in sync with the increasing demands for customer satisfaction every time they decide to buy.

How to Implement an In-Store Fulfillment System

The Warehouse Management System takes care of most of the workload in a warehouse, which provides maximized control and visibility. But here's the challenge, once the inventory is shipped out of the warehouse, there is very little control and visibility of what happens later. It is a fact that managing stocks in a retail store is very different from inventory management in a warehouse.

In a retail store, where customers are actively interacting with the product, there are chances that the product can go misplaced from its location, making it challenging to keep track of In-Store Inventory. On top of that, if a business has multiple retail stores, then it will have to systematically allocate inventory to each store to ensure they have enough stock. Managing inventory issues like returned and defective inventory is a challenge in itself.

Ideally, there should be robust Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP software to manage Inventory within retail stores effectively. But if businesses want to implement a solid Omnichannel Fulfillment Strategy, they must know transparency and control are everything.

To determine the best fulfillment route when receiving an order, it must track the inventory in the warehouse, each retail store, and the stock count listed on the e-commerce storefront. With many moving parts and challenges, it is simply more complex than it sounds,

Implementing the right tools to simplify and make the most out of Omnichannel Fulfillment Solutions is critical. A powerful Fulfillment Operating System helps with these challenges mentioned above.

It is not rocket science when having powerful software that seamlessly integrates different tools from various platforms. A Fulfillment Operating Software will give inventory visibility and inventory accuracy across all platforms like warehouses, distribution centers, micro fulfillment centers, and all retail stores in the business.

Another significant advantage worth noting is that when implementing powerful Fulfillment Management Software, enables tracking various metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to understand how the business is performing. It is recommended to go through the article on some of the essential Key Performance Indicators to learn more.

Benefits of Implementing In-Store Fulfillment

There are endless advantages to implementing an Omnichannel Fulfillment Platform that focuses on effective In-Store Fulfillment capacity. Here are some significant benefits businesses should know about:

Last-Mile Delivery

The primary goal of the Last-Mile Delivery process is to ensure the package or order is delivered to the end consumer as quickly as possible. According to research, as of 2018, Last-Mile Delivery demand in the B2C market has increased by 67 percent. The B2B market, on the other hand, has seen a 33 percent increase.

It goes without saying that when enabling In-Store Fulfillment capacity for the business, ensures faster shipping rates and improved order turnaround time. In-Store Fulfillment helps choose the optimal shipping route resulting in an efficient order fulfillment process.

BOPIS Strategy

Customers expect quick deliveries; there is no surprise. But here is something that fulfills customer expectations - the BOPIS Strategy. BOPIS stands for “buy online pick up in-store.” In some instances, customers simply do not want to wait until they receive their order. They do not mind going down to the store to collect their orders themselves.

In these scenarios, the BOPIS Strategy appeals to customers as they get the benefits of shopping online and the convenience of picking up their orders at a nearby store as quickly as possible. When implementing In-Store Fulfillment, businesses gain the ability to enable BOPIS Strategy.

Asset Utilization

When adopting In-Store Fulfillment, the assets are utilized effectively. For any business, infrastructure and human resources are vital assets. The ability to use them efficiently determines how profitable the business is.

By Implementing an Omnichannel Fulfillment model, the available space in the warehouse and physical stores are used while the workforce is tasked optimally to improve throughput and reduce burnout.

Reduced Expenses

In-Store Fulfillment enables businesses to reduce significant expenses like shipping costs and labor. As discussed earlier, the placement of the stores being closer to average consumers compared to warehouses makes the shipping costs go down dramatically.

Network Expansion

Having a vast network is beneficial regardless of the type of business. Having Omnichannel Fulfillment enabled for business allows for growing the network. With In-Store Fulfillment, more physical stores and micro-fulfillment centers can be set up with limited resources and infrastructure.

Stay Competitive

Staying competitive in business is extremely important. With In-Store Fulfillment, companies can compete aggressively in terms of pricing even while not compromising on same-day delivery times. Companies improve their chances of brand visibility and placement in a competitive market by implementing an In-Store Fulfillment Strategy.

Inventory Movement

When implementing an Omnichannel Fulfillment Strategy, inventory levels are rarely idle. This means, when a company has In-Store Fulfillment enabled, it is less likely to have piled up stock at a retail store or warehouse. This will eliminate marked-down prices to get rid of them quickly, ensuring a healthy profit margin at every sale.

Happy Customers

In an e-commerce business, keeping track of customer satisfaction is particularly challenging. When implementing In-Store Fulfillment infrastructure, the customers get what they want as quickly as possible—resulting in enhanced consumer expectations who will keep coming back for more.

Increased Profits

Summing up all the benefits, it all comes down to profits. Every step a business take should yield lucrative growth and returns. In-Store Fulfillment is arguably a great way to improve brand visibility, increase profits, and maintain healthy customer satisfaction rates.

Bottom Line

When choosing a robust Warehouse Management and Omnichannel Software like Hopstack, business gain control of their fulfillment operations. It can seamlessly create and manage the network of Warehouses, Distribution channels, Microfulfillment Centers, and Retail Stores to make the most of the Omnichannel Order Management and Inventory Management Strategies. Hopstack allows businesses to take their Order Fulfillment Operations to the next level to ensure to meet customer expectations so that they enjoy a seamless shopping experience.

Feel free to get in touch and schedule a demo with our team of industry and product experts to learn more about how the Hopstack platform can create a unified fulfillment experience between the warehouses, fulfillment centers, and retail stores.

Tips for Retailers to Enhance The Ease and Speed of Omnichannel Order Management

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Team Hopstack

Hopstack brings you the latest articles, guides and long-form explainers on topics relating to warehousing technology and automation, supply chain and robotics