Written by Starshipit
Retail is no longer limited to ‘just instore’ or ‘just online’. As customer expectations about service delivery grow, stores are increasingly providing their customers with more ways to buy.
But more sales channels equal more dispatch channels – and more potential for things to go wrong during fulfilment. The answer to streamlining fulfilment across multiple channels comes down to a strong omnichannel fulfilment strategy.
Omnichannel retail (or omnichannel commerce) is a multi-channel approach to sales that gives customers a seamless purchasing experience regardless of how they purchase. The ability to sell across multiple channels also lets retailers increase their reach more than just operating a retail store or online selling via a website.
Using an omnichannel approach, customers can buy online via their laptop or mobile device, shop via an online marketplace like Amazon or eBay, or walk into a brick-and-mortar store. Regardless of the method, the experience – and the result – is the same.
With so many purchasing options available, fulfilment processes need to be fail-proof. Retailers need to ensure that all possible ways to purchase give their customers the best experience, and a big part of that comes down to fulfilment.
Fulfilment channels in an omnichannel sales environment could include in-store product pickups, Click & Collect, and delivery (with multiple delivery options available depending on the courier company you use, like overnight, twilight, express or standard). With so many delivery options available depending on how your customer has placed their order, you need to make sure the right product is found, allocated and delivered to the right customer as seamlessly as possible.Read more about delivery options
Omnichannel retailers need to manage orders that come in from multiple angles effectively and efficiently. Three popular strategies include instore fulfilment, warehouses and 3PL (third-party logistics) fulfilment.
If you operate brick-and-mortar stores, you might like to keep stock instore until it needs to be shipped. This can be a useful fulfilment method if you’re a smaller business just getting into online retail, or if your products are small and easy to store (and therefore easy to ship).
If you want to manage your own fulfilment, operating out of a warehouse could be the answer. In this scenario it’s important to stay on top of your inventory so a warehouse management system (WMS) is ideal.
A third-party logistics (3PL) provider is an outsourced link between the retailer and the customer that manages inventory and shipping for you, so you can focus on your customers and other parts of the business. Your customers place an order with you and a 3PL fulfils that order on your behalf.
While having multiple sales channels is useful for customers, it can get problematic for retailers. Starshipit makes it easy to stay across orders that have been ordered via multiple channels. Our child account functionality lets retailers set up accounts for multiple locations then link them back to an overall ‘parent’ account, so operators in separate locations can manage their own fulfilment under the overall umbrella of the retailer.
Our multi-location child account feature is useful for retailers that have multiple physical locations. Setting up a child account gives them access to all your courier accounts, printing settings and sender addresses, and integrations, customer notifications and branding are all inherited from the parent account. Rules can be used to assign orders from the parent account to the child account, and orders that are fulfilled by the child account will write-back to the appropriate sales channels via the parent account.
Having multiple sales channels is great for customer experience, but it can mean a bit of admin juggling orders at the fulfilment end of the process.
To simplify and streamline your omnichannel fulfilment, sign up for a free 30-day trial with Starshipit.
*Note, to enable child accounts you must have a Professional or Enterprise plan, and each child account incurs an additional cost of $20/month.