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Awaken Dark Stores by Rethinking How to Use Them

Christopher Sarne
Senior Director Product Management Strategy

You may be asking yourself, how do I keep my business viable during the current global crisis and future proof my operations? With store-based retail operations forced to shut down, consumer fulfillment habits are changing quite significantly, and are likely to remain that way for some time. Digital engagement will increase, and new demands will impact the store to deliver a safe and convenient experience. A new set of retail omnichannel journeys will be critical to meet these challenges, as Curbside Pickup, Contactless Payment, and Ship from Store have defined the “New Next” that consumers demand from brands they trust most. To meet these new demands, retailers can leverage their existing in-store inventory. 

Challenge #1: I do not have access to available inventory to fulfill my digital demand. And I have aging inventory in my stores that I need to sell or move. 

You will need to operationalize your stores to become fulfillment centers, fine-tuned to service digital demands through a “Ship from Store” (SFS) model. With a single view of inventory and order across all channels, you can still save the sale and minimize the need for later markdowns. You can assign in-store inventory, that has been unsold for weeks, to online orders. Those completed orders can be made ready for Store Pickup (BOPIS) or as (SFS) shipments to the customer. 

Challenge #2: Ok, so what if I do not have enough staff in my distribution center to process my online orders?  Ideally, I would like to get portions of my store-based workforce back on the job. Could I consider using my stores and associates to fulfill demand?

Once you introduce your stores as a critical fulfillment option for your digital business, you can operationalize a new service model to meet local demand and deliver on customer expectations. By leveraging available resources and talent, you can sell through inventory, reduce inventory carrying costs, and protect margins.  

Challenge #3:  As consumer habits evolve in the New Next, I know I need to invest in the relationship to drive continued engagement with my brand. How can you help me provide the service levels that consumers need to stay loyal?  

Inventory accuracy across both stores and centralized locations will be critical to maintaining customer satisfaction and brand engagement. By adopting a save-the-sale strategy and providing more shopping options, you will drive loyalty while improving margins. 

Our customers shared that as Asia reemerges and stores re-open, they have seen a lower volume of foot traffic but a higher number of qualified buyers. No matter how the consumer chooses to engage with your brand in the future, it’s essential to be able to prioritize real-time inventory and orders to complete the consumer journey and exceed their expectations. 

We are here to help kickstart this new model with a QuickStart Implementation program. Our retail experts are standing by to assist. Click here to request a day and time that works for your team, to engage our retail experts.

On-Demand Webcast: Creative Fulfillment of Demand-Adapting the Role of the Store


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