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Buy with Clicks, Ship with Bricks

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By Published On: June 26, 20190 Comments

Online sales are growing, and retail foot traffic is falling, but there is a way to keep your physical stores in business.

Convenience is overcoming the world of retail, and if you’ve already immersed yourself in the 333 slides of this year’s Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report, then you’ll know that E-Commerce sales are on the rise, and are continuing to overtake physical retail sales.

For those not familiar with Mary Meeker’s Internet Trend Report, it’s everyone’s favourite presentation on everything that’s happening online from internet usage to how digital tech is impacting education and healthcare.

According to the report, the percentage of E-Commerce sales have doubled in the last few years, but physical retail sales are stagnant.

E-Commerce taps into the consumer need for convenience, and this is a direct result of the sudden Uberisation of retail. Fast and cheap deliveries have revolutionised consumer expectations; we all want access to the new burger joint around the corner, shoes for that birthday on the weekend, and flowers for mum all within 30 minutes.

Growth is a great thing. But what about our physical stores? The surge in online sales poses us with the perfect opportunity to start leveraging our physical assets for fast, short distance distribution.

More Convenience > Less Retail Foot Traffic

Everyone wants everything now, and on the outside, it’s easy to think of retail growth as a zero-sum game where constant growth in E-Commerce has taken a toll on retail foot traffic.

But retail growth isn’t a zero sum game.

Retail foot traffic may have fallen fell 12 per cent last Christmas due to the rising popularity of online shopping events like Black Friday. Retailers are now under pressure to revisit their brick-and-mortar strategies, and one of the easiest ways to increase stock turnover is by making your in-store stock available to online shoppers.

Several large retailers including The Athlete’s Foot, General Pants Co, Cue Clothing Co have already started to fortify their retail outlets with a robust endless aisle strategy by enabling ship-from-store capability. This means more customers have access to in-store inventory; balancing out the reduction in foot traffic.

Turn Retail Stores Into Mini DC’s

Imagine if you could increase customer access to inventory by 70 per cent.

That’s what Cue Clothing Co did when they turned their physical retail stores into mini distribution centres.

An endless aisle approach to retail means you can offer your customers uncapped access to inventory. If your warehouse is out of stock of small sized brown t-shirts, but you’ve got five items available in your Pitt Street store, instead of serving online shoppers an out of stock notification, you can ship their purchase from the nearest location that has inventory.

When Cue Clothing Co introduced their endless aisle to shoppers, they simultaneously increased their sales by 130 per cent.

Although this is the next frontier of retail and online shopping, before you can begin shipping inventory from physical retail stores, you’ll need to get your tech stack in good shape.

To achieve an endless aisle, you’ll need:

  • A single view of inventory across all locations
  • Pricing and promotion consistency
  • Inventory accuracy
  • Omni-channel payments/refunds
  • Click and collect
  • Ability to distribute packages from retail stores
  • Same day shipping

And combine it with really fast shipping

It all comes back to convenience. 49 per cent of shoppers want a fast delivery option at checkout, and 93 per cent of consumers say that delivery options are critical to their online shopping experience.

Retailers need to start thinking about on-demand deliveries and how it fits into their value proposition. Offering fast delivery is one of the easiest ways retailers can begin to compete with the “I want it now” online shopper.

Fast deliveries, combined with a ship-from-store strategy, will be the retail experience of the future. Catering to both online and in-store shoppers, flexible deliveries are the fundamental pillars of retail growth.

Want to start shipping from store? Get in touch with Team Shippit and start the conversation today.

About the Author: Power Retail

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