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Leverage stores as part of your omnichannel retail strategy

With the growth in e-commerce sales, one might think that the brick-and-mortar store is dead.  But nothing can be further from the truth.  

In fact, the store has become a key component of retailers’ omnichannel strategies. When the pandemic shuttered stores, many retailers dove straight into omnichannel offerings including offering curbside pickup; ship from stores, and buy online, pick up in-store (Bopis). From early 2020 through early 2021, the percentage of retail chains offering curbside pickup grew from single digits to a majority.  In a February 2021 survey of 1052 shoppers from Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights, 75 per cent of shoppers said they had used curbside or Bopis during the past six months. 

As stay-at-home orders end in the US and across many parts of the globe, retailers are wondering whether consumers will continue to embrace store fulfilment options, how much more should they invest in speed and convenience options, and what percentage of consumers will return to in-person shopping. Over the past year, 40 per cent of Americans tried a new shopping method, and nearly three-quarters of people who have tried curbside pickup, Bopis, or delivery want to continue using these services after the pandemic ends. This certainly means that there is no going back. 

To stay ahead and certainly compete with top retailers that leveraged stores as part of their omnichannel strategy, more retailers will need to do the same. Stores like Target, Walmart, and Ulta successfully leveraged stores and saw great financial results. Target’s DriveUp service grew 500 per cent last year. With consumer preferences changing, it’s imperative for retailers to utilise the right technologies to effectively use stores as part of their digital transformation strategy. 

Blue Yonder’s Order Fulfillment capabilities help retailers deliver modern commerce experiences by supporting  store fulfilment options such as curbside pickup, Bopis, ship from/to store, and same day delivery/last mile. Using the persona-based order fulfillment mobile application, a store manager can get full visibility of their store’s micro-fulfillment activities with actionable dashboards to make store fulfillment decisions (ie: accepting/rejecting orders, assigning orders, prioritising orders). Store associates can also use the same mobile application’s intuitive workflows to see tasks assigned to them to efficiently pick, pack, and fulfill orders. The solution enables retailers to streamline and optimise store fulfillment operations for online orders to ensure that customers receive the right order, at the right time, through their channel of choice. 

Retailers can leverage order fulfillment capabilities when using their brick-and-mortar locations for both in-store shopping and store fulfillment, as well as scenarios where store locations have been converted fully or partially to dark stores to meet the demands of online order fulfillment. With greater demand to offer one- and two-day delivery, the microservice supports parcel carrier integration, allowing retailers to send products to last mile carriers from local stores rather than far flung warehouses.  

Leveraging stores as part of their digital transformation is a win-win for retailers and for customers alike. Using stores to fulfill orders reduces inventory carrying costs and markdowns and enables faster delivery and/or pick up for customers. Options such as Bopis drive foot traffic, enable stores to garner incremental sales. Who hasn’t picked up their Bopis order and then added a few last-minute items to their cart? Store pick-up options such as Bopis and curbside also ensure product availability before shoppers leave home. Nothing is more disappointing than finding out that an item is no longer available, or it’s sold out once you reach a store.    

To learn more about Blue Yonder’s commerce and fulfillment solutions, visit us here.  

About the authors: Nina Seth is Product Marketing Director and Sumit Mittal is Product Director – Commerce Solutions at Blue Yonder.