Store-based fulfillment decreases shipping times and improves ecommerce experiences by having local stores fulfill online orders with inventory that’s also available to in-store shoppers. However, this omnichannel fulfillment method can make retailers vulnerable to stockouts that leave shelves bare and compromise in-store shopping experiences.
How stockouts happen with store-based fulfillment?
Before “ship-from-store” became a popular method of ecommerce fulfillment, 72% of in-store stockouts happened due to faulty in-store ordering and replenishing practices. Many retailers solved this challenge with IT solutions. However, these solutions were not built with ecommerce in mind and became untenable when retailers started adopting omnichannel fulfillment.
There are still many causes of in-store stockouts today, but the following scenario is often what plays out when ecommerce fulfillment is responsible.
How to avoid ship-from-store stockouts?
The following three steps will help you minimize stockouts when integrating ecommerce fulfillment with in-store inventory.
How Gamestop avoided store fulfillment stockouts?
Gamestop is notorious for adopting ship-from-store fulfillment early on without compromising their beloved in-store shopping experience.
In 2016, GameStop implemented this fulfillment strategy to triple its e-commerce inventory. By teaming up with a third-party technology provider, GameStop was able to link in-store POS systems with its online order management systems to offload excess inventory.
This connection facilitated the ship-from-store method that was particularly advantageous for GameStop given its trade-in model. Linking store-based inventory with ecommerce channels helped them offload excess games (old versions of games that were traded in for new ones).
However, store-based fulfillment didn’t work for every company around this time. In 2015, Target relied too heavily on store inventory for online orders which led to stockouts in physical locations.
Additional resources for optimizing ship-from-store
The Practitioner’s Guide to Ship-From-Store Implementation (ebay Enterprise) - 32-page ebook with considerations or adding ship-from-store to an omnichannel fulfillment strategy.
5 Ways to Start Distributing from Your Retail Store (USPS) - Blog post with additional information about transforming your stores into effective distribution centers.
PackageX Inventory Management: Our cloud-based logistics solutions for combining offline and online inventory data and giving employees the tools they need to be successful.