Staying Competitive in Ecommerce with Ship-from-Store Distribution
With the tremendous growth year over year that we are seeing in E-Commerce sales including everything from books to dog food to large screen TVs and industrials equipment, it is a fact that online sales are definitely here to stay. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home regulations, even those people who had resisted online sales are being forced into doing it, and most now like it. It’s nice to go out the door and have that package you ordered waiting for you right there. Even my 85-year-old father-in-law who said he would never buy a thing without touching and feeling it, is now a fan.
Originally developed as a business to consumer (B2C) platform, E-Commerce is now being used and has seen tremendous growth in the business to business (B2B) marketplace. The question is, how as a reseller, do you compete in this competitive marketplace against the big guys out there. One way to compete is through lower pricing and perks such as fast delivery times and free shipping. These offered perks can make it difficult for some smaller E-Commerce retailers to realize their opportunities in the E-Commerce marketplace.
To help, some online retailers are competing by using a SFS or Ship From Store strategy. If a retailer has multiple locations, it has become extremely easy to setup a small shipping center right within the facility. Utilizing small pack stations that save a lot of space and help organize what is needed, everything to create and secure shipments are kept within a small footprint. These stations can be equipped with all the necessary items for shipping such as cartons, void fill, label and label dispensers, tape guns with carton sealing tapes and whatever else is needed. Small parcel companies such as UPS and FedEx have software to create the shipment and print the shipping labels so that anyone can become an expert shipper with a minimal of training. When an order is placed online by a customer, it is routed to the closest location to the buyer’s destination that has the product in stock. The product is then packed and shipped from that location.
Using SFS saves transit time and shipping costs because of the closer proximity between shipper and receiver. If the shipment originates and delivers within the same shipping zone as defined by the major small parcel carriers, the time from order to delivery can be 1 day. Better than many of the large E-Commerce companies at a low cost.
With these savings, even a smaller retailer can now be competitive against the “BIG GUNS” out in the marketplace.