It's not news: online competition is getting tougher and tougher. The expectations of your customers are rising and sustainability is playing an increasingly important role. And you? Trade. Or: should act.
Because it should be clear that sustainability is no longer just an option, but the non-plus-ultra in e-commerce. If you want to be fit for the future, you have to act sustainably. It's no wonder that there are now countless ways to optimize your supply chain - and make it more sustainable.
One of them: ship-from-store. What we awkwardly call in German "Versand vom Geschäft aus" (shipping from the store) means the option that Internet orders can also be shipped from the retail store. Especially during the Corona pandemic, there were - forced - no limits to the imagination and Ship-from-Store became an alternative that comes up with some advantages.
And the best thing about it is that once you have restructured so that ship-from-store is possible, you will be rewarded - handsomely. Customer-friendly delivery is just the beginning...
What is Ship-from-Store?
Ship-from-store is the term for sending the goods ordered by customers online not only from the distribution center, but also from one (or, preferably, several) stores. In this delivery, which takes place directly on site, the warehouse in the store is used not only for products that are sold on site. But also for parts that are shipped from the store to your customers.
Simply put, your retail store continues to evolve into a small distribution center - where the usual day-to-day business, i.e. brick-and-mortar sales in the store, still takes place. The only difference that really makes a difference, as we will show later, is that goods are also shipped.
Ship-from-Store is based on the omnichannel sales concept. All sales channels and contact points with customers used by the company are networked with each other so that the channels can be used simultaneously. In this construct, ship-from-store is only one of the options that can be used to pursue the omnichannel approach.
The advantages of shipping from the store are obvious: more flexibility, shorter delivery routes, same-day deliveries. And that is by no means all...
However, in order to be able to offer ship-from-store at all - who would have thought it - a few things have to be taken care of. Micro-fulfillment systems, for example, are very suitable. Small warehouses are added to the retail store, from which the goods are shipped.
Once the organizational aspects are taken care of, you can sit back and enjoy the benefits: Omnichannel commerce is implemented more quickly, and sales also increase. After all, it happens often enough that a product is not available in the warehouse, but is available in the store. With ship-from-store, this is no longer a problem. Out-of-stocks are avoided and the sales volume increases.
A small fact on the side: According to forecasts, online trade will grow even more strongly in the future - and represent even greater competition to retail than it already does. And why not use ship-from-store to defuse this tension and create advantages for yourself?
Sustainable shipping thanks to Ship-from-Store
Sustainability also plays a role that should not be underestimated. Thanks to ship-from-store, goods can easily be shipped from a closer location and reach your customers even faster. Ideally, Ship-from-Store connects all stores into a network in which each store acts as its own logistics center.
You therefore avoid a long, usually resource-intensive supply chain. This alone automatically reduces your emissions. Because the supply chain is one of the factors that causes the most CO2. No wonder, given the distances covered by the delivery trucks, which in the worst case are gasoline-powered...
For this reason, a shortened supply chain is always something to strive for. If you additionally ship with emission-free means of transport, your CO2 balance and delivery efficiency can really be seen! The combination of electric vans, cargo bikes and shipping directly from the store is unbeatable.
The short distance to the customers is an absolute win-win situation for all parties involved. After all, who wouldn't want sustainability and same-day deliveries?
Customer-friendly delivery? Check!
If there's one thing that makes an e-commerce business successful, it's its customers. And this is exactly where Ship-from-Store comes in: The shopping experience is much better thanks to faster delivery. As a retailer, you also don't have to concentrate on additional expensive and complicated logistics chains, but instead focus on what really counts: Your customers.
The same can also choose between several products: The product catalog is broader thanks to Ship-from-Store. This minimizes the risk of customers turning to the competition because they can't find a product in your store. In addition, thanks to the warehouse close to your customers, you also offer them a useful service point to which they can turn for (complaint) questions or comments - and you literally become closer.
Transparency is also becoming more important with each passing day. Customers not only want their goods as quickly as possible - they also want to know where they come from and how sustainably they were delivered. With Ship-from-Store, you offer your customers exactly the transparency they want from other suppliers... and only get from you. Adios, long, opaque supply chains!
In this way, you score points not only with customer-friendly delivery, but also with customer-friendly service and the fulfillment of customer wishes. And by the way, the risk of products becoming slow sellers in the long run is reduced...
Hello, logistics of the future!
Scalability is also easier with ship-from-store solutions. The company can grow as it wishes - and still not affect logistics if ship-from-store is also used. That's because the decentralized logistics centers don't have to adapt to the ever-changing market. Which saves you stress and ultimately has a positive effect on the customer's shopping experience.
Besides, the stores are supplied anyway. So this very step of the supply chain can be used to bring all goods into the city: Those that are sold in the store AND those that are shipped as ship-from-store goods. This way you kill two birds with one stone without any extra effort.
Another plus point: increased responsiveness. If demand suddenly increases unexpectedly, the stores and warehouses can work hand in hand and support each other. This way, no warehouse/shop is left to its own devices and knows that help is always there in an "emergency".
As you can see, not only flexibility and sustainability increase. Also the satisfaction of your customers!
Oh yes, it would be nice if a strategy had only advantages... Hopefully we all know that this is utopian :) The advantages of ship-from-store clearly outweigh the disadvantages. But we don't want to deprive you of the challenges that can arise:
So it's clear that shipping from the store requires some restructuring at first. It's not enough to simply say, "Well, we'll be shipping from the store starting today. In Germany in particular, there are hardly any parcel service providers that offer this. Especially with the traditional big players, one looks in vain for such innovative solutions... (But that's exactly what Liefergrün is for... More about that later).
After all, ship-from-store is a novelty for most companies, and everyone involved has to get used to it. And by "get used to" we mean, on the one hand, the synchronization that has to take place: Because if the products that are sold in the store are displayed online at the same time, a "double purchase" can occur. In order to avoid this and not to annoy customers, precise coordination and regulations are required. This is also related to checking the inventory. All stocks must be clearly synchronized - warehouse management software can be helpful here.
Secondly, the space (shortage) in stores is an undeniable factor to consider. Every store has a limitation of the space available to it. In case of doubt, before implementing ship-from-store, it is necessary to optimize the store's storage space.
Also very important: the management of the packaging. After all, this is not something that can be done in passing either - on the one hand, space is needed to store the packaging materials. On the other hand, care must be taken to ensure that there is always enough packaging available. Otherwise, the faster delivery won't work either.
Is Ship-from-Store worth it for me?
Ship-from-Store is worth it for anyone who wants more satisfied customers, better sales, sustainable shipping and scalability... So: Yes!
Of course, there are a few challenges to overcome first. But once that's done, there's nothing standing in the way of your company's success. Ship-from-store is not only an ideal alternative to complicated supply chains that harm the environment, but also simply sustainable. The connection between online trade and local retail is gradually becoming more and more popular - both with customers and entrepreneurs.
If you're still unsure about how to approach Ship-from-Store, let me tell you: You're not alone. We are here to help...
Delivery green as a reliable partner
We at Liefergrün have also already recognized the potential of ship-from-store. In addition to same-day deliveries, tracking and tracing, and time-window deliveries, we are also big fans of shipping from stores.
The collaboration of cargo bikes, e-vehicles and shorter supply chains just does it for us. And why not? After all, everyone involved benefits: the company becomes more sustainable, logistics are simplified - and customers can look forward to faster and more sustainable shipping.
So we continue to pursue the goal of making the last mile as green as possible. With Ship-from-Store, we also have an offer that covers everything desirable: Sustainability, flexibility, customer satisfaction. Would you like to do the same? Feel free to contact us to learn more about our Ship-from-Store solution.