From click to ship: leveraging the store’s full multi-channel value
As an industry, we’ve talked a lot about Click & Collect. Retailers are now well aware of the positive impact that in-store pickup opportunities have on customer spend, loyalty and frequency of purchases – and they’ve invested in technology to optimise this process.
However, fewer retailers are looking beyond Click & Collect to see how their bricks-and-mortar footprint can support cross-channel operations in other ways. Or if they are, they’re struggling to make that model work.
With Click & Collect strategies successfully streamlined, Ship from Store is the next major battleground that multi-channel retailers need to focus on. And there are some big-name businesses that can already see the size of the prize…
Smarter fulfilment options for retailers AND customers
While stores are being used effectively as delivery hubs, many retailers are yet to fully explore their full potential as fulfilment point. However, the need for this is greater than ever.
With 1 in 5 UK retail purchases now made online, consumers are encountering increasing problems with ecommerce out-of-stocks, because the product they want is not available at the warehouse or distribution centre.
A recent report on the Ship from Store opportunity has found that opening up stock across all channels to fulfil ecommerce orders can boost revenue by up to 20%, as retailers use their store network to capture sales that would otherwise have been missed.
Additional fulfilment points also enable orders to be despatched quicker and more profitably, with improved stock usage reducing the level of discounting on items that haven’t sold simply because they weren’t in the right location – while demand outstrips supply in online channels.
It’s not just ecommerce where the opportunity lies, either; the Ship from Store model can be used to reallocate stock to other stores and third-party collection points such as lockers, offering even greater flexibility and convenience for the customer.
The foundations for successful Ship from Store
With these advantages in mind, it’s easy to see why store fulfilment is rapidly rising up the retail priority rankings. At this year’s NRF convention in New York, Target CEO, Brian Cornell directly attributed the company’s investment in Ship from Store to its long-term to success. “Today, we consider stores our single biggest competitive advantage,” he revealed.
But while Ship from Store sounds like retail nirvana, it’s not always easy to achieve – otherwise all retailers would be doing it effectively already. A number of building blocks need to be in place to make store fulfilment possible. Many retail brands are still working on these foundations, focusing on elements such as:
- Single view of stock – enabling an accurate, 360-degree view of stock in all channels, in real-time
- Store capabilities – refining the technology and processes store colleagues need to receive, fulfil and despatch orders alongside existing services like Click & Collect, without negatively impacting the in-store customer experience
- Training programmes – ensuring all store colleagues are fully briefed on using in-store tech to manage multi-channel demands, utilising features such as automatic notifications to support rapid, seamless operations
Ship from Store’s silver lining
While many retailers are still on the development path, Target isn’t the only major name that is already harnessing the power of Ship from Store. Beaverbrooks continues to drive annual sales figures upwards through a strong multi-channel strategy, for example. The British jeweller has introduced enhanced Click & Collect and Ship from Store solutions, to open up its stock availability across all channels.
Beaverbrooks has invested in Sanderson technology that enables store colleagues to receive both collection and despatch orders, and respond to them effectively. As our platform is browser-based, staff can manage requests via their mobile device – meaning there’s no interruption to in-store customer service.
“We can fulfil ecommerce orders from any location,” remarks Lee Harker, Beaverbrooks’ Ecommerce Technology Manager, “enabling us to serve our customers faster and with greater efficiency.”
Finding the right platform for success
Click & Collect has already proven to give stores a new purpose and increase customer spend. Imagine the additional value that can be generated by implementing Ship from Store alongside it.
For most retailers, the ultimate goal is enabling consumers to buy anywhere, deliver anywhere and return items anywhere across their multi-channel estate. Store fulfilment is an essential part of this agile model, but it needs to be built on strong foundations in order to enhance retailers’ current offerings; rather than adding another responsibility to the store associate’s already overstretched workload.
That is where choice of multi-channel retail technology makes all the difference.