Online customers are accustomed to a simple and seamless shopping experience: you simply place your order, and receive the items (ideally) the next day. To keep pace, physical shops must embrace new strategies. One increasingly popular solution is ship-from-store. It helps bricks-and-mortar retailers to maintain a presence in the fiercely competitive digital market – and to make the most of their last mile advantages.
Cost-effective, reliable and fast: customers have high expectations when it comes to deliveries. Particularly for smaller retailers or local shops, it is not easy to keep up, or to compete with major players. So they either avoid online sales entirely, or outsource them. One alternative is ship-from-store – where goods are delivered directly from the physical outlet, i.e. using part of the building as a mini-distribution center. This 2-in-1 approach allows traditional retailers to enjoy both in-store sales and to profitably fulfill online orders.
Ship-from-store offers many advantages
One way to convert part of a store into a small-scale distribution facility is by implementing a micro-fulfillment center. This is essentially a compact, automated warehouse. Items can be transported directly to consumers – without taking the often-circuitous route via a central warehouse. The result is a win-win situation for bricks-and-mortar retailers and online customers. Shorter shipment distances reduce costs and planning effort. A further benefit is improved use of inventory, and better alignment of stock and demand. And at the same time, it can support faster fulfillment, such as same-day (SDD) or even same-hour (SHD) delivery.
Innovative software, smart warehouse solutions
The automated micro-fulfillment center is typically located at the back of the store. With the support of companies such as Dematic, these innovative solutions can be installed quickly and simply. By intelligently combining a micro-fulfillment center with a ship-from-store strategy, retailers with limited space can secure long-term success and ensure lasting customer relationships.