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Ship-from-Store: how to sell your in-store stock online

From local order to local delivery

With the current pandemic, Ship-from-Store (SFS) seems more relevant than ever. Not only is the demand for Ship-from-Store solutions accelerating, some businesses even see the solution as the future of global e-commerce. But what is Ship-from-Store exactly? What are the advantages of Ship-from-Store? And what do you need to arrange in order to implement this solution for your business? In this blog, our experts from B2C Europe offer you insights into what benefit it brings to your business and share how we’ve already implemented this solution for one of our retail customers.

What is Ship-from-Store?

Actually, the word gives it away – Ship-from-Store. Shipping is done from the store, rather than from a central distribution centre. By using physical shops and transforming them into mini-distribution centres, retailers are able to handle their online orders faster and more sustainably. In many cases, stock often remains in stores, especially in these times of global lockdown due to the corona crisis. It is therefore efficient and effective to deliver online orders directly from existing shop stocks. This not only allows you to process these orders faster, but also reduces the risk of a product being out of stock.

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How does Ship-from-Store work?

When the customer places an online order, the IT system of the webshop determines from which shop the order can best be delivered. This is not only based on stock, but also on location and turnover rate. The shop in question then receives the order and ensures that the order is made ready for the customer. Since several physical shops spread over several locations not only ensure more stock but also a higher turnover rate, Ship-from-Store works best with the largest possible network of shops. Although larger retailers have this, small retailers can also use this solution by working with a brand owner, an online platform or a wholesaler.

Benefits

By implementing Ship-from-Store, you ensure that your business has lower stock levels in the physical shops. Not only does this mean lower costs, but also less capital investment and less risk. Because there is less stock, you also have to do fewer clearance sales. It also reduces the need to move stock to another shop or put it on sale, because the stock of all shops is available for online customers. Additionally, when an item is out of stock in one shop, customers or employees can easily order online from another location. This means you don’t have to sell no to customers. This will lead to satisfied and returning customers, and thus more sales for your business.

Challenge

All these advantages of Ship-from-Store are attractive, but if it were that easy, every business would have implemented a Ship-from-Store solution. The biggest challenge you have to face is to create a single-view-of-stock. In other words, every physical shop must display up-to-date stock information on every product. By creating this overview, you can link all databases and track every change in stock in real time. Every sale in the shop should therefore be registered immediately. If you don’t do this, you could end up selling a product online while it is completely out of stock. This will be a negative experience for the customer, which you most likely want to avoid.

Another challenge you face is that you must train staff and adapt to this new way of selling. Who picks up the product in the store? Who registers the product? Who packages the product? And last but not least: make sure that customers in the shop are not negatively affected by online handling.

Local carriers

The online orders are placed, the products are prepared, but how are the orders shipped? You need a carrier, or multiple carriers, to pick up the orders at your physical shop. We at B2C Europe strongly recommend a multi-carrier approach so that you are able to use the best local carriers available in each of the regions. For example, we have already implemented a Ship-from-Store solution with G-Star RAW. We manage end-to-end, with a fast and reliable linehaul network to many local last mile carriers. The final mile solution of B2C Europe allows G-Star RAW to choose which last mile carriers are used to deliver and return parcels. Read more about how G-Star RAW applies our Ship-from-Store solution.

Are you ready to ship from store?

In short, setting up the Ship-from-Store solution is quite a challenge. But after all the preparation, you can enjoy all the benefits it brings! Lower stock levels, lower costs, less capital investment, less risk and eventually more revenue. Wondering if Ship-from-Store can deliver the required benefits for your business? And how B2C Europe’s multi-carrier network can help you? Then get in touch with one of our experts!

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