Order fulfillment in-store gains momentum
Order fulfillment is a top priority for many retailers, given the current omni channel landscape of merchandising. Customers are using a variety of different channels, ranging from online stores to offline shops, to make purchases and retailers need to be able to fulfill those orders as quickly as possible.
Many online sellers with brick-and-mortar locations have even begun using these physical spaces as order fulfillment centers. This benefits them in multiple ways. First, it gives them greater flexibility as they can fulfill orders from anywhere, whether it’s a regional distribution center or the physical store that’s closest to the customer who just made a purchase. Second, it enables merchants to offer services and features such as in-store pickup, which allows customers to bypass shipping and pick up an item directly at their nearest store.
Take one look at Walmart and it becomes apparent how much order fulfillment can improve eCommerce operations. Walmart’s global head of mobile Gibu Thomas recently spoke on a panel at the MobileBeat conference about in-store order fulfillment. According to Thomas, as many as 20 percent of purchases made on Walmart’s website are fulfilled through physical stores – people either opt for in-store pickup or it’s simply easier to fulfill the order through the brick-and-mortar locations.
“We are trying to blend the distinction between the channels,” Thomas says. “We are more about removing friction points from shopping than about channels.”
According to Thomas, omni channel order fulfillment is good for both customers and retailers. For shoppers, it allows them to make purchases on their own terms – if they want to shop online and skip the extra time and financial costs of waiting for delivery, they can do that. For Walmart, it can translate into more sales.
Improving flexibility with omni channel order fulfillment
More brick-and-mortar stores are capitalizing on omni channel order fulfillment solutions to improve their flexibility. Merchants should consider following in the footsteps of Walmart and the other retail giants offering in-store pickup – it can help them save on warehouse space while also using their stock more effectively to quickly fill orders.