Click & Collect, a buzzword that has been around for some time, means starting a purchase online and picking it up in a store.
The concept is straightforward to grasp but quite challenging to implement. Click & Collect requires staff and a dedicated area to handle the influx of online shoppers eager to pick up their products in-store. That partly changes the paradigm in stores, which tend to become mini-warehouses. That means new tasks for staff members: receiving packages for delivery or preparing requested orders. Once the stores have assimilated the “mini-warehouse” aspect, you can go one step further in omnichannel order optimization by implementing ship-from-store fulfillment.
A robust order management solution combined with store fulfillment can turn store networks into a strategic ecommerce asset. Ship-from Store, for example, creates virtual distribution centers across a retailer’s network of physical locations. It leverages store assets to fulfill ecommerce orders, minimizes out-of-stock situations, and reduces delivery times and expenses. Instead of order picking in a warehouse, it is done in a retail location, and a carrier picks up the prepared package from a store. However, to avoid disrupting workflows, it is essential to assess the logistical impact from the store’s point of view.
A dedicated Distributed Order Management System lets retailers adjust the flow of orders sent to each store. That way, no one store becomes overburdened. And if an order is unable to be fulfilled at any given store, it is automatically rerouted. To be effective, the solution should provide configurable order routing logic that sends orders to the best store based on retailer-defined criteria such as:
- Type of retail location
- Proximity to the shipping destination
- Inventory levels at stores
- Minimizing split orders situations (require ship complete from a single store)
- Store’s ability to perform special handling, for example, gift wrapping
- Optimizing the ratio of units/orders per day per location
- Automatically reroute declined orders to the next best store
- Selectively enable and disable participating stores based on geographies, store performance, and marketing events Technology Requirements While Ship-from Store’s benefits are clear, there are technical and operational challenges for successful execution. Such as:
- Maintaining accurate store-level inventory and “available to promise” calculations
- Highly flexible and configurable order brokering and order routing with best-source order allocation logic
- And easy-to-use, web-based, and mobile in-store apps tailored for store associates
Click & Collect continues to grow in popularity, especially since the pandemic. And now there are multiple flavors of it.
- In-Store Pickup a. Special Click & Collect counters b. Self-service Lockers
- Merchants can also offer pickup at a. Stores of their partners b. Post offices c. Delivery provider offices (UPS, FedEx) d. Self-service Lockers located at transport hubs
The omnichannel approach to order fulfillment extends to returns as well. All major retailers encourage Buy Online and Return In-Store (BORIS). BORIS cuts out the cost of return shipping completely, both for the merchant and the customer. It also offers another benefit for the retailer — it brings customers into stores, thus creating a perfect opportunity to upsell or cross-sell them on additional products. Retailers can turn returners into shoppers!
With tight integration into ecommerce and customer service software, a great OMS connects shoppers to their order history and allows for easy exchanges, returns, and cancellations with self-service options on the channels shoppers prefer.