What is ship from store?
Ship from store is a fulfilment option for online orders that makes use of the stores of a business. It means that orders can be picked and shipped by store personnel using store stock. Orders can originate from the usual webshop, but ship from store can also be useful for orders from marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay or Bol.com or other sales channels.
Ship from store can be an automated option for online orders. For example, when the retailer sets up business rules in the allocation process that assigns certain orders to certain shops. But it can also be driven by choice of customers. The ship from store process consists out of the following steps:
When a customer is placing an order, a (preferably real time) stock check on the store’s stock is necessary. This way, your webshop knows whether to display ship from store as a delivery option during checkout. When the customer has placed the order, and has chosen ship from store, the allocation process starts.
During allocation of the order, the store’s stock should (again) be checked and should be accurate. You don’t want to ask your store to fulfil orders which are not on stock. Optionally, a location check can be done to validate if the shipping address is within delivery range of one or more stores, and the nearest store with the products on stock, can be selected. Additionally, more business rules can be enabled to influence the allocation of ship from store orders, like store priority or opening hours of stores.
When the right shop is chosen, the store needs to be informed about the order. The picking request for an order can be sent by e-mail to the shop concerned, or, and less time-consuming, your OMS automatically sends the order to the shop. In an ideal situation, the shop confirms that the order is received and that they are going to start picking. In the store, the order can be picked with software that automatically updates stock levels and the order status.
Shipping the order from a store can be done in multiple ways. You can equip your store personnel to do it themselves for example. Or they bring all the orders to a drop-off point near the store. Most sophisticated is to let a delivery partner pick up the orders at the store and deliver it to the customer. Unfortunately, this is usually also the most expensive option. You could consider a bike carrier to deliver your orders, which is a greener and sometimes faster option than delivery by car or bus.
Last but not least, before you can start with ship from store, it is important to have seamless integrations and alignment between all parties and parties involved. These can be between internal stakeholders, like the DC, stores and customer service, but also between external stakeholders like a delivery partner. Decent software integrations are important along every step of the ship from store process, so it should be a priority to focus on from the beginning.
Is ship from store worth it?
Implementing and working with ship from store might sound like a hell of a job. Will it be worth it? While there are no guarantees, it’s quite possible to make a prognosis. Do some internal research on the following questions to find out whether or not to implement ship from store.
- What will be necessary for me to implement ship from store?
- Does my IT landscape support this functionality?
- What will ship from store yield?
- Will the delivery accuracy rise by sending fewer order to the DC?
- Do my stores have time and motivation to process online orders?
Did you come to the conclusion that the advantages of ship from store outweigh the disadvantages? Great! Now it’s time to involve some extra colleagues to actually make it happen. Good luck!
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