How In-store Fulfillment benefits you and your customers
01 Mar 2018 How In-store Fulfillment benefits you and your customers
Today’s retail customers expect ubiquity, which is the ability to be everywhere. They want to view or buy a retail product online and be able to return the ordered product at a nearby store. With the growth of online e-commerce-based retail, 50% of retail customers want the convenience of buying a product online and picking it up at a store.
In-store fulfilment is a supply chain technology that is enabling retailers to succeed in the omnichannel market space. This article presents a brief introduction to this emerging retail technology and how it offers business value to both retail customers and retailers.
What is In-Store fulfilment?
In-Store fulfilment is the technology that enables retail order fulfilment (online or store) from the traditional brick-and-mortar store. This technology is primarily transforming the retail store into a warehouse or distribution centre, or is blurring the line between the two, thus allowing order-related processes in the retail store to function like a warehouse management system. Along with standardizing processes across the store and warehouse, In-Store fulfilment improve speed and efficiency across locations, including catering to unique order picking requirements (for example, apparel with different styles and colours).
In-Store fulfilment, if implemented properly, offer a range of benefits to retailers, including:
- Bringing distribution points closer to the customer, thus reducing shipping costs and delivery time.
- Deriving better profit margins from dead or idle retail inventory items in the store.
- Allows the retailer to manage the supply chain more efficiently across delivery channels.
- Improve order fulfilment in online channels without investing in new distribution channels.
Retail challenges and how to overcome them
Most retailers have point-of-sale (POS), e-commerce, and ERP systems, operating in isolation. Additionally, retail shops are not designed to operate with the efficiency expected of a warehouse. Most retailers do not track their store inventory on a real-time basis, thus resulting in the average inventory accuracy ranging between 50-80%. Inventory tracking in retail stores is made more difficult, as most items are stocked together but are sold individually.
Additionally, as compared to warehouses, order picking in retail stores are more complex, as most store associates are not trained for this function.
These present a major challenge for retailers, who want to implement in-store fulfilment solutions within the store.
The transformation from a retailer store to an in-store fulfilment centre requires efficient planning and execution. This will require the implementation of a distributed retail order management system that can easily integrate with POS, order management, store inventory, and other systems. The current infrastructure of retailers supply chain systems is channel specific, with distribution channels catering to maintaining the inventory for each channel.
Despite the challenges, In-Store fulfilment is slowly transforming the traditional retail store from simply a physical place to an omnichannel retail medium. The distributed order management system is enabling in-store fulfilment by handling complex order fulfilment routing. By enabling sharing of inventory across the enterprise channels, in-store fulfilment can improve the company performance, along with enhancing the customer experience.
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