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Sorted by CEO and founder David Grimes

The concept of a ship from a store is not as old as Santa Maria, but it is certainly not a voyage of new discoveries.

Streamlining the supply chain, improving the customer experience, and reducing costs by shipping from stores rather than from warehouses have been valuable tools in retailers’ arsenals. As a result, retailers have become more competitive online and can better utilize their stores, inventory and staff.

But its true value has only been realized for the sector, which has experienced rapid acceleration over the years due to rising consumer expectations for fast, convenient and flexible delivery.

Covid’s rippling water

The impact of Covid-19 is widely documented, especially in retail stores where brick and mortar stores have been forced to close, boulevards remain unmanned and people’s lives are disrupted.

Behind the scenes, however, is a world where pandemics have created demand for discretionary products and exponentially increased screen time, forcing consumers, and thus businesses, to go online almost overnight.

This change has long-term implications, and retailers need to take into account these new consumer behaviors as dust subsides and the line between online and in-store becomes increasingly blurry.

If that wasn’t clear before, the connection between e-commerce and physical and digital is no longer good. This is now an essential insurance policy. Especially for those who used to prefer to shop offline, such as Baby Boomers and Gen Z, this is a way to ensure that sales don’t stop altogether.

Pivot in a pandemic

Market data reinforces this concept. According to the Global Connected Consumer Index Report, which covers 5,000 consumers in North America and Europe, 29% of consumers say they shop online rather than face-to-face.

Meanwhile, Incisiv and Manhattan Associates expect 80% of shoppers to increase shipments from stores in the next six months, and 85% of shoppers have significantly increased this habit since the pandemic began. I found that.

According to a Statista survey, 54% of high street shoppers are already looking for flexible shipping options. According to OC & C Strategy Consultants, it’s not surprising that the courier and click-and-collect market will double by 2025, purely at the expense of in-store retailers.

You don’t have to look too far to see how this trend emerged in 2020. There are many examples of companies of all sizes that made this pivot during a pandemic. In the UK, supermarket Sainsburys has reused a closed store in Blackfriars as a hub for processing bicycle orders.

A lasting legacy of convenience

It is clear that the pandemic leaves a legacy of lasting convenience. Providing a convenient, fast, easy, and personalized way for consumers to buy while providing localized venues, knowledge, and space-maximizing is beneficial and easy for both parties. That’s right.

However, in-store shipments also need to evolve to establish themselves as an important element of retail functionality. The store has never been designed to act as a fulfillment center and may require an ergonomic makeover to suit its purpose.

Similarly, some supply chains, distribution and delivery networks may need to be improved to be as fluid, fast and consumer friendly as stores demand.

In the last six months, not only has the need for speed and convenience in the 21st century increased, but it also emphasizes the most basic human drivers that stand out due to their lack of innovation, adaptability to the environment and adaptation to change. it was done.

For store-to-work shipments, retailers must have complete confidence in their network of delivery partners and courier companies. Similarly, the delivery network needs to evolve to understand the optimal pick-up and drop-off routes that work in each location and store network. In this era, a universal approach is not enough.

Above all, shipping from store models depends on inventory accuracy. Accurate stock information will determine the success of this initiative. Poor inventory accuracy often results in order cancellations and misplacements.

It also means bouncing either orders or products between stores, which can lead unfortunate customers to delay or not deliver parcels.

Without knowing in real time which inventory is where, it is impossible to know if a store can fulfill an order and therefore a customer can promise. In fact, store shipments are designed to support inventory positions, as retailers don’t have to buy much e-commerce-specific products if they can ship from the store.

White knight for retail?

But don’t have an illusion. Ships from the store are not white knights for boulevard retailers. Unless the store provides consumers with a compelling value proposition, store traffic, which was already declining in the pre-coronavirus era, will slowly slow down.

Consumers are now at home for weeks at a time and are accustomed to buying a variety of products online. In the future, the trend will be even more pronounced in the future, as they will not come to the store unless the retailer gives a good reason.

Retailers need to understand customer preferences in a deep and up-to-date manner, anticipate new roles for the store in the light of these preferences, and surgically change the format of the store. More than ever, stores need to offer a unique customer experience, not just a trading venue.

In short, store shipments are only part of what needs to be a wave of innovation to upgrade your shopping experience.

This includes providing access to limited-edition products, such as in-store only or for the first product launch in the store, to allow store staff to guide customers at the beginning of their product discovery journey and continue post-purchase interactions. It includes everything from investing in training for. ..

Burning platform for change

The coronavirus crisis has escalated the case of turning retail into a proverbial burning platform, and store shipments are certainly one of the solutions.

Whether enforced by Covid-19 or not, it will be the cornerstone of retail after 2020, as it has significant benefits for brands, retailers and consumers, not only overcoming pandemics and protecting the Digital Titan Flood. Need-about its evolutionary retail model and how to shop around the world.

In the last six months, not only has the need for speed and convenience in the 21st century increased, but it also emphasizes the most basic human drivers that stand out due to their lack of innovation, adaptability to the environment and adaptation to change. it was done.

Shipping from stores seamlessly blends this conflict of our evolution and is why every retailer needs to participate in its adoption.

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