Fulfilling Web Orders from Stores

According to eMarketer about one third of retailers use brick and mortar stores for fulfillment of online web orders. About 25% more plan to do so soon.

Retailers are competing with Amazon and other retailers by offering in-store pickup and fast delivery to consumer’s homes. UPS is working with over 40 retailers on delivery strategy. FedEx is also, although numbers on retailer participation in their program are not available.

Inventory Efficiency

The advantage to retailers of leveraging their stores to fill web orders is that they can move stock around the country to where it is needed. Fulfilling from stores allows retailers to show availability online and to display the exact same items to shoppers in stores. In addition to better customer service, increased inventory efficiency helps retailers avoid overstocks and associated markdowns as well as stock outs.

The result is they can sell more without having to buy additional inventory. This translates into faster inventory turns, always a good thing for retailers.

Of course the whole process hinges on the accuracy of in-store inventory. Receiving at the store dock, check out at the register, and picking of orders online orders must be all done correctly. See below for more about what this means to you.

Examples

According to a January 17th, 2014 Wall Street Journal article, Macy’s has about half of its 840 physical stores that can fill online orders. The advantage to Macy’s is that it can keep inventory in front of brick and mortar customers and still fulfill online orders. Macy’s started their enhanced fulfillment capability in 2012 with 292 stores of its stores.

Nordstrom started even earlier, in 2009, and is considered the first mover. Nordstrom ships from all of its 117 stores.

Toys R Us and Babies R Us ship from all of their combined 800 stores. Saks is shipping web orders from 43 of its 47 stores.

Best Buy can fill online orders from 400 of its stores and offers in-store pickup. Best Buy has 1,800 stores altogether.

Sears and Kmart have a combined 2,000 stores. However, they are focusing on doing fulfillment from just 27 of their stores which gives them coverage of 80% of the US.

Walmart, eager to compete with Amazon on price, availability and speed of delivery, is shipping from many of its 4,000 US stores. Specifics are not available.

What This Means to Your Small Business

In-store accuracy of inventory is key to every retailer’s strategy of fulfilling web orders from their stores.

Consequently, EDI ASN’s (Advance Ship Notices) from small business suppliers have to be correct.

ASN’s, which are essentially electronic packing slips, start the in-store inventory process . For example, product UPC numbers and quantities have to be correct so that the receiving dock at the store can import the ASN data correctly into their inventory system.
Check out the categories to the right for previous blog posts on EDI compliance and chargebacks related to ASN’s.

Contact us anytime to find out more about how we can assist your small business with accurate and reliable EDI capability.

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