Store delivery can be broken down into two distinct categories: e-commerce orders delivered to the retail outlet and store inventory traditionally delivered by a pool carrier. With the growth of e-commerce and many brick and mortar retailers selling online, the popularity of in-store pickup is growing. And though consumers generally opt for this method to take advantage of free or reduced-cost shipping, it presents some real challenges for the retailers, mostly in terms of inventory control.
Retailers will sometimes try to pick from the store to fulfill in-store delivery. This is challenging because many times the inventory “moves” and isn’t always accurately portrayed through the inventory management system. In other words, your system says you have 2 items left. You go to the shelf to pull it and it’s gone. It’s in some customers shopping cart making its way to checkout.
OK, so regardless of where the product is picked, ultimately it has to be processed for the customer to pick it up. That requires staff and procedures. Say you don’t pick from the store shelves. Instead, say the product is shipped from a distribution center via parcel carrier. Someone has to receive the product, match it to an order, deliver it to a customer service area and verify pickup by the customer.
While in-store pickup creates challenges for the retailer, it does present a singular and most important benefit – it guarantees that a customer will walk in your door. And then you have the opportunity to sell to them all over again and this increase in store traffic can outweigh the costs it takes to get them there. There are many retailers who manage this process well, but in the end it all depends on your business model, your store capabilities and customer base.