Ship from Store: 5 tips for launching your project
When products are out-of-stock in your warehouse, shipping them from your stores is simple and logical with Ship from Store, the must-have Order Management System (OMS) solution for omnichannel retail.
With an average increase in online sales of 25% in the first month of activation, the effectiveness of this omnichannel solution for retailers is clear.
How can you prepare for your Ship from Store project? What mistakes should you avoid?
OneStock offers you 5 tips we’ve learnt over the years from numerous Ship From Store projects for our clients.
Tip #1: Prepare your Ship from Store business case
This first of our tips may seem obvious, but it is crucial: preparing your business case helps define the foundations of your future Ship from Store project. Here are some elements to include on your checklist:
Identify and measure the expected benefits:
- Economically: additional sales revenue, additional margin, savings on certain costs, etc.
- Environmentally: reduction in carbon footprint, last-mile impact, etc.
- Organisationally: impact on different business functions
During this stage, also consider identifying and measuring the associated costs.
Question the project’s management (RACI):
- Which organisation/department will be responsible for the budget?
- Which organisation/department will be the sponsor?
- Who will make the final decisions?
To assess whether your company is mature enough for a Ship from Store project, analyse:
- The share of online activity to estimate the additional demand
- The maturity of your omnichannel strategy and its momentum
- Your distribution network
- The structure of your logistics organisation
- Your inventory management
- The ROI associated with the project
Based on our experience in implementing Ship From Store projects, OneStock has calculation models to estimate the expected gains and/or savings in a retailer’s project.
Tip #2: Define your orchestration rules
The Order Management System (OMS) offers a wide range of orchestration rules for Ship from Store orders. It’s up to you to choose the ones that fit your business:
- Activate/deactivate potentially eligible stores
- Define priorities by group of stores
- Establish a split rate
To start, we recommend defining simple rules. This shortens the configuration phase and speeds up the first go-live. Fewer scenarios and fewer tests allow for faster production deployment. Focus on simple rules, with a small number of stores (between 5 and 10) to start with, and improve gradually based on the average basket size, number of orders, etc.
Tip #3: Involve all stakeholders
To ensure the project’s success and gain the support of everyone involved, governance must be established. Ship from Store is an initiative that aligns with the company’s omnichannel strategy. Therefore, it originates from the General Management and involves all organisational functions. Typically, one of these functions is designated as the project’s sponsor to ensure overall coherence and endorse decisions. The following functions are usually involved:
- General Management
- E-commerce or Digital Department
- Supply Chain Department
- Retail Department
- IT Department
And depending on the context:
- Finance Department
- Purchasing and Procurement Department
- Customer Service Department
It is essential that all these functions are involved early in the project. However, their roles and involvement may vary depending on the project’s nature, the implemented solution and its level of advancement. We advise establishing an omnichannel champion in each department. A monthly steering committee can also optimise the long-term profitability of Ship from Store.
Tip #4: Find the balance in revenue distribution between e-commerce & retail
The goal here is to instil a true omnichannel philosophy shared by the entire company. Each channel must understand the benefits of online/offline complementarity and its importance in building the omnichannel offering.
The incentive is crucial. The way you reward retail teams will determine their level of involvement and adoption of the tool on the ground. It is highly recommended to allocate all or part of the Ship from Store revenue to your retail teams. This does not diminish the merit of the digital or e-commerce department, which can be measured through other indicators (traffic, conversion rate, average basket price, etc.). In this regard, dual compensation can be practiced. We have observed that this practice is highly appreciated and extremely effective among our clients. A “fair” incentive will motivate store staff to prepare orders quickly, thereby improving customer satisfaction.
Tip #5: Train your retail staff to ship from store
The introduction of Ship from Store in the store will change the role of sales associates, who will be assigned new tasks, such as capturing orders, preparing packages and shipping them. These tasks and their scheduling should be made as simple as possible through the provided tool.
In this regard, a simple and ergonomic Back Office interface for store associates is essential. Typically, a few hours of training are provided to all eligible store managers for Ship from Store, who will then train their sales associates in-store (a ‘train the trainer’ approach). On this occasion, a training manual can be prepared for the store teams. The store associate or manager will also benefit from the tool’s related features, such as reporting (managed by the headquarters), providing a summary view of their Ship from Store activity:
- Number of captured orders
- Number of prepared orders
- Number of shipped orders over a given period
Don’t forget to train your customer service team too, as they may need to be involved in managing and tracking Ship from Store orders.
Lastly, offering a unified interface for all omnichannel services (Ship from Store, Click and Collect, Reserve and Collect, Order In Store, returns management) will facilitate the adoption by store associates.
Every Ship from Store project is different but the advice provided in this article can be applied to all types of retailers. Watch this space for more tips to successfully launching your Ship from Store project, from the leader in Order Management Systems in Europe.