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3 Critical Questions to Ask Before Implementing In-Store and Ship-from-Store Logistics

UNEX SpeedCell and SpeedCartt at Overton's Fulfillment Center

Nearly 1 in 10 consumers has stopped shopping at a company because of slow delivery according to the USPS.1 As customer expectations for inexpensive shipping costs and speedy delivery times have grown, so too has the demand for online goods.

Related Reading: Order Fulfillment: Competing With Amazon’s One-day Shipping

In order to meet consumer demands, retailers are implementing Ship-from-Store (SFS) systems that use in-store stock to fulfill web orders. SFS systems have empowered retailers to ship products from a store closer to the customer rather than a centralized distribution center. When goods have less distance to travel, customers experience lower shipping costs and get their products faster. This leads to increased customer satisfaction and more online revenue for retailers.

However, before retailers implement an SFS system, the following considerations should be made:

1. Can the existing IT infrastructure handle the SFS model?

Before implementing ship-from-store, retailers should determine if web-based ordering is compatible with the existing systems. This is especially true for smaller companies with simpler IT infrastructures. SFS systems are not inexpensive and jumping headfirst into ship-from-store logistics could lead to headaches if the existing IT infrastructure cannot accommodate the SFS model. Paired with the COVID pandemic, retailers also have to consider how to accommodate new in-store, curbside pickup, and shipping options within their SAAS platform.

2. Is the store inventory accurately recorded?

According to Auburn University RIFD Lab, the average retail store’s inventory accuracy is only 65%.2 This means that items could be marked as available when they are actually out of stock and unavailable for purchase. While SFS can drastically improve customer experiences by delivering orders faster, an unhappy customer because of unmet expectations can quickly undo the results of that investment.

Additionally, if inventory at the store level is not accurate, order fulfillment becomes exponentially more difficult. A tight organization system, both within the inventory management system, retail floor, and the stockroom is vital to success with an SFS logistics model.

Related Reading: Inventory Management: Why Keeping Comfort Stock Should Make You Very Uncomfortable

3. Does the existing space need to be re-organized to accommodate the logistics?

After retailers evaluate any inventory accuracy obstacles, they should evaluate the physical workspace to determine if it’s organized to execute an SFS model. Properly-organized inventory helps streamline logistics and makes it easier to fulfill orders.

In addition to inventory organization, examining the existing layout and workspaces is crucial. For example, is there space where orders can be staged and picked up by the shipper? For in-store pick up, is there space where orders can be stored and customers can pick up? If so, is there also an efficient space for employees to interact with those customers? Asking these sorts of questions will help determine if the current footprint needs to be re-organized to implement SFS effectively.

Get Started With In-Store And Ship-from-Store Logistics With UNEX Solutions

It is reported that many warehouses only use 20% of their current space, so there is room to grow as long as storage is optimized. Especially with In-Store and Ship-From-Store models in place, success starts with space optimization. Store organization can make or break order fulfillment. By prioritizing warehouse space optimization on your existing footprint, storage capabilities can be maximized without having to buy or rent additional space.

For storage optimization, implement a high-density solution like SpeedCell to organize inventory into a condensed, easily-identifiable storage space that increases the number of pick facings for order pickers. A carton-flow solution like SpanTrack keeps product at the pick point for workers while making high volumes of SKUs easily accessible.

Related Reading: Maximizing Warehouse Storage Space

To increase efficiency when unloading and loading trucks, installing a permanent or flexible gravity conveyor saves time and money by increasing throughput and helps move products safely and smoothly.

Adding a modular picking cart like SpeedCartt to your toolbox enables multiple orders to be picked simultaneously and can be an ideal solution for small businesses that need to stage orders. Paired with a modular flow rack and workstation solution like FlowCell for packaging and staging orders, you can experience even higher productivity while fulfilling orders.

Take advantage of all the benefits that a Ship-From-Store model offers by maximizing your workspace with customized space optimization solutions from UNEX.

Get the Guide to Optimizing Warehouse Space Utilization