Use Stores to grow your eCommerce sales by at least 10% p.a. Here’s how…

Use Stores to grow your eCommerce sales by at least 10% p.a. Here’s how…

24th January 2019

Inventory can be a complex beast, there is a risk that a demand forecast may not meet the actual consumer demand. A high forecast but low actual demand can mean unnecessary cost in terms of disposing or storing surplus product. On the other hand, low forecast but high actual demand can mean opportunity cost in terms of lost sales… you can minimise lost sales using in-store innovation, it can help solve basic inventory availability for all your channels with automated processes managing pick from store, ship from store, click and collect, return to store and order in store.

Over a five-part mini-series we shall share experiences with actual solutions delivered with benefits and drawbacks to consider, ultimately this will grow your ecommerce sales, delight your customer and ensure more profit.  Let’s begin with looking at what ‘Pick from Store’…

Pick in Store

To understand the benefits that pick in store can provide, it is firstly imperative to understand what pick in store is. Pick in store is a tool which enables instore staff to pick orders placed online thus fulfilling these orders irrespective of whether they are to be either collected in store or dispatched out to customers. By implementing pick in store, there are benefits which retailers and their customers alike will experience.

The benefits for retailers which stem from the use of pick in store are threefold.

The utilisation of instore staff is a benefit. By optimising the instore workforce, it means staff are more productive, as during downtime from serving customers they can be fulfilling orders. These fulfilled orders can either be for click and collect (which will be discussed in more depth later in this mini-series) or for dispatch both internationally and domestically.

Pick from store reduces the need to open further warehouses and the associated costs of doing so, such as extra employee wages and the investment required to build or rent an extra warehouse. To this end, it could be said that stores are becoming mini-distribution centres should the main distribution centre (DC) not have available inventory or simply to service a local click & collect order. There are also savings on logistical costs and adding a ‘green’ tick to the environmental impact of not needing to send a DC stocked item to the store to service a click and collect order.

Retailers will also experience stock optimisation and consequently less markdowns selling vastly more at margin. ‘Seeing all’ means that there is complete transparency on availability and therefore, when an order needs to be fulfilled, it will be sent to wherever has the stock, to be dispatched quickly and efficiently and based on customer preference for perhaps same day pick up… In this respect, stock can be sold quicker rather than stagnating in stores, and therefore limits the needs for reductions and markdowns.

The benefits for consumers which stem from retailers utilising pick in store are also threefold.

Current trends suggest that consumers crave both convenience and speed and can wholly base their purchase decisions based upon these factors. By utilising pick from store, both factors can be achieved as consumers don’t have to wait for the stock, when it comes to click and collect, to be shipped to the store or wait for stock to arrive at the warehouse for dispatch. Not only this, but by fulfilling the order in store, consumers can pick the parcel up at their own convenience or have it delivered to a location which is convenient for them, again, with a limited wait time. Customer convenience is key.

Having greater visibility of stock means stock can be optimised to reduce the chance of markdowns, you’ll delight the customer with greater availability of product, giving customers further options on the product they want, especially for apparel brands.

Being able to deliver on convenience, enabling quicker dispatch and having greater availability of product allows for a more cohesive consumer brand journey, thus improving the customer experience. This goes some way in bridging the chasm between retailer capabilities and consumer expectations.

Next week we will be sharing our experiences with Ship from Store… see you next week!

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