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
September 27, 2022
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 strategies. E-commerce has dramatically changed how we look at traditional commerce and the supply chain. If you own a physical brick-and-mortar store and an online storefront, you are 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 shopping experience and super fast deliveries, 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 Omnichannel Fulfillment 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 you supercharge your fulfillment strategy and take your business to new heights.

What is In-Store Fulfillment?

In-Store Fulfillment is a fulfillment strategy that is predominantly part of the Omnichannel Fulfillment that fulfills 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 you to ship 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 Strategy. You need to make sure every component of that strategy, like In-Store Fulfillment, works in sync with the increasing demands to satisfy your customers every time they decide to buy from you.

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. As you might have guessed, managing stocks in a retail store is very different from managing inventory 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 you have multiple retail stores, you will have to systematically allocate inventory to each store to ensure they have enough stock. Managing 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 you want to implement a solid Omnichannel Fulfillment Strategy for your business, you must know transparency and control are everything. To determine the best fulfillment route when you receive an order, you must track your inventory in your warehouse, each retail store, and the stock count listed on your 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 your Omnichannel Fulfillment Strategy is critical. A powerful Fulfillment Operating System helps with these challenges mentioned above. It is not rocket science when you have powerful software that seamlessly integrates different tools from various platforms. A Fulfillment Operating Software will give you real-time insights into inventory across all platforms like warehouses, distribution centers, micro fulfillment centers, and all retail stores in your business.

Another significant advantage worth noting is that when you implement powerful Fulfillment Management Software, they enable you to track various metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help you understand how your business is performing. We recommend you go through our 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 Strategy that focuses on effective In-Store Fulfillment. Here are some significant benefits you should know about:

Last-Mile Delivery

The primary goal of Last-Mile Delivery 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 you enable In-Store Fulfillment for your business, you ensure faster shipping rates and improved order turnaround time. In-Store Fulfillment helps you choose the optimal shipping route resulting in efficient order fulfillment.

BOPIS Strategy

Customers expect quick deliveries; there is no surprise. But here is something the customers love - 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 you implement In-Store Fulfillment, you gain the ability to enable BOPIS Strategy for your business.

Asset Utilization

When you adopt In-Store Fulfillment, you are utilizing your assets effectively. For any business, infrastructure and human resources are vital assets. Your ability to use them efficiently determines how profitable you are. By Implementing an Omnichannel Fulfillment Strategy, you use the available space in your warehouse and physical stores while your workforce is tasked optimally to improve throughput and reduce burnouts. 

Reduced Expenses

In-Store Fulfillment enables your business 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 what type of business you run. Having Omnichannel Fulfillment enabled for your business allows you to grow your network. With In-Store Fulfillment, you can set up more physical stores and micro fulfillment centers with limited resources and infrastructure.

Stay Competitive

Staying competitive in business is extremely important. With In-Store Fulfillment, you can compete aggressively in terms of pricing even while you do not compromise on delivery times. You improve your chances of brand visibility and placement in a competitive market by implementing an In-Store Fulfillment Strategy.

Inventory Movement

When you implement an Omnichannel Fulfillment Strategy, inventory is rarely idle. This means, when you have In-Store Fulfillment enabled, you are 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 you have a healthy profit margin at every sale.

Happy Customers

In an e-commerce business, keeping track of customer satisfaction is particularly challenging. When you implement In-Store Fulfillment, your customers get what they want as quickly as possible—resulting in happy customers who will keep coming back for more.

Increased Profits

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

Bottom Line

When you choose a robust Warehouse Management and Omnichannel Software like Hopstack, you gain control of your business’ fulfillment operations. You can seamlessly create and manage your network of Warehouses, Distributions Centers, Microfulfillment Centers, and Retail Stores to make the most of your Omnichannel Order Management and Inventory Management Strategies. Hopstack allows you to take your Order Fulfillment Operations to the next level to ensure your customers 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 your warehouses, fulfillment centers, and retail stores.

Team Hopstack Author
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