Ship from Store: your ally for selling unsold items after the sales
You are no doubt already familiar with Ship from Store, the logistical process whereby a retailer with an e-commerce website and a network of physical stock points can ship e-commerce orders from its stores (instead of the usual e-commerce warehouse). This omnichannel order management solution is particularly useful when it comes to dealing with e-commerce stock shortages.
As a genuine ally for improving retail performance, the Ship from Store solution has been acclaimed for its ability to extend the range of products available online and the depth of stock, and thereby generating more sales. It reduces the pressure on the warehouse and helps to avoid order cancellations while clearing stock from the stores. Finally, shipping from stores allows customers to benefit from express and same-day deliveries, thanks to the stores being in a closer geographical perimeter to the customers than the warehouse.
It is also important to adapt the Ship from Store tool according to seasonality. Let us explain why.
What is the link between Ship from Store and seasonality? Why is this solution particularly well adapted to the post-sales period?
The proportion of orders processed by Ship from Store varies throughout the year – at the beginning of each season/new collection, most orders will be processed from the e-commerce warehouse. However, nearing the end of a season or collection, the trend is likely to reverse as warehouse stock will be lower. As such, more orders will be sent from the stores.
If we take a look at the end-of-season clearance sales more specifically, retailers generally agree that having a lot of stock in-store is absolutely necessary for the success of the operation. What is more, favouring Ship from Store during this period is likely to be quite tricky given the high in-store footfall and the fact that store associates are in high demand.
On the other hand, Ship from Store is particularly interesting as soon as the sales come to an end. Changing the orchestration rules to Ship from Store towards the end of the sales season will allow the remaining stock to be sold. Ship from Store thus becomes a real supply chain management tool.
Ship from Store should not only be seen as an opportunity to increase online sales but as an optimisation tool for supply chain management.
Ship from Store: what benefits can be expected for retailers?
Strategically optimising the supply chain by using Ship from Store at the end of the clearance sales season has clear benefits for retailers:
- Better clearance of store stock: By using store stock, the problem of stock shortages in the warehouse, which is recurrent at the end of the season, is eliminated.
- Reduced end-of-season returns costs: At the end of a season, items that weren’t sold in-stores are packaged and returned to the warehouse. By using store stock, Ship from Store makes it possible to limit the number of references that will need to be returned.
- Making the most of every active moment: In the event of low footfall, store associates can keep busy by preparing online orders.
Ship from Store: our top tips for order allocation
In reality, the implementation of Ship from Store requires a good knowledge of the store’s product range at the end of the sales period. In this way, store associates will be able to capture orders with greater confidence, knowing that the items are available on the shelves or in stock.
Knowing that stores with stock are competing for online orders and that this is not always easy depending on how busy the store is, it may be wise to modify the OneStock orchestration rules. For example, orders can be offered to stores first, but for a short time. If an order is not picked up quickly (e.g. after 3 hours) then it will be served by the e-commerce warehouse so as not to negatively impact the Delivery Promise.