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How to Adapt Your Order Fulfillment Strategy For the Changing Retail Landscape

It’s no secret that e-commerce has changed the retail landscape, and businesses that don’t adapt are going to get left behind. That’s why it is so important for brick and mortar stores to compete with online retailers through omnichannel strategies. Studies show that a whopping 87% of shoppers begin their search for products through digital channels, which means that companies that don’t have an effective order fulfillment strategy in place will miss out on the online shopping frenzy.

Thankfully, there are multiple ways that businesses can adjust their order fulfillment strategy to succeed in the modern marketplace. A study conducted by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) argued that “winners and losers will emerge as companies make the right technology investments and strategic choices.”

So far, order fulfillment strategies that incorporate “click and collect” have appeared to be successful.

What is Click and Collect? 

In European countries, click and collect has been a popular order fulfillment model for several years, but only recently has it started to gather momentum in the United States. Essentially, click and collect in business allows consumers to make purchases online and then retrieve their products either in-store or from a centralized collection point, such as a secure electronic locker system

Advantages of Click and Collect?

The benefits of click and collect are numerous for both consumers and for retailers who need to improve their order fulfillment process. 

For consumers, the advantages of click and collect include: 

  • Eliminate Missed Deliveries and Package Theft: While “one-day delivery” and other fast-delivery options have been touted as revolutionary in terms of convenience and efficiency in business, the glaring downside has been missed deliveries and package theft. Consumers are often required to be home when a delivery is made, which is often impossible during work or school hours. 1 in 4 people have experienced package theft when they weren’t able to retrieve their package in time.  
  • No Delivery Costs: Online prices are rarely what they seem. Delivery costs can drive up costs which catch consumers off guard and dissuade them from becoming repeat buyers. Click and collect eliminates delivery costs because the consumer picks up the product themselves.
  • No Rush to Collect: Because click and collect often makes use of smart lockers like Parcel Pending’s retail lockers, consumers never feel the pressure to rush home to meet a delivery person. They can collect their purchase at their discretion, which improves customer satisfaction during the entire ordering and shipping process.  

Using an order fulfillment strategy benefits both the consumers and retailers in many ways. Because the order fulfillment process is less expensive and more convenient, click and collect helps foster customer loyalty and increases the chance that consumers will make repeat purchases.

Other benefits of adopting a click and collect strategy for retailers include:

  • Improved Staff Efficiency: For brick and mortar retailers who choose to integrate click and collect into their order fulfillment strategies, employees are afforded more time to focus on in-store concerns rather than spend time dealing with packing and shipping.
  • Encourage Impulse Buys: A recent study measuring the effects of click and collect found that 37% of click and collect customers end up buying additional products when they go to pick up their goods in-store. This direct revenue boost can be a lifesaver for businesses which are struggling to compete with large online retailers. 
  • Save on Delivery Costs: Even if retailers need to still deliver goods to a click and collect collection point, businesses inevitably end up saving money on delivery costs. Drivers don’t need to spend an entire day making individual deliveries to residencies. 
  • Collaboration: Non-competitive stores can share one collection location, which can cut costs for retailers and further increase convenience for consumers who may be purchasing products from multiple retail outlets. 

Final Thoughts

The best way for retailers to survive in the increasingly competitive e-commerce market is by making sure that consumers can quickly and efficiently retrieve products they order online. One way to do this is by developing an omnichannel retail strategy that offers a unique and convenient delivery service. By using click and collect, even brick and mortar businesses can become competitive with massive online retailers because they eliminate the many variables involved with standard online delivery.  

Statistics demonstrate how vital it is for businesses to improve their order fulfillment process for e-commerce. Consider this: in 2019, it’s estimated that there will be around 1.92 billion global online buyers. That’s 25% of the world’s population, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. By 2021, 2.14 billion people are expected to opt for buying online. 

Protecting your bottom line requires adaptation, and investing in smart lockers for a click and collect order fulfillment strategy is one of the most forward-thinking methods companies can employ to both secure and increase their revenue streams. Not only will this help with inventory management, but it also improves the overall customer satisfaction of online orders and gives your company that extra competitive advantage.