Using Omnichannel as a Solution During COVID-19: Ship From Store
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, omnichannel is now more important than ever for businesses that wish to stay afloat. The novel strain of coronavirus has sent a shockwave throughout businesses across the globe, with retail stores, gyms, restaurants and bars, forcing to close their doors to the public. In the wake of these mass closings, many businesses are having to alter their business strategy as a way to combat these government mandated regulations. Thus, omnichannel comes into play.
When brands that typically rely on foot traffic for the majority of their profits are forced to close their physical locations, smart businesses turn to omnichannel commerce strategies. Omnichannel commerce is a multichannel approach to sales that focuses on creating a seamless customer experience, whether the customer is shopping online, on a mobile device, or in a physical store. The idea behind omnichannel is to make the shopping experience as easy as possible for the customer so conversion rates will rise. To keep conversion rates up amidst COVID-19, stores are getting more creative with their omnichannel approaches, focusing specifically on how to optimize their shipping strategy.
The Issues at Hand
While shipping services such as USPS, FedEx, and UPS are considered essential businesses, and therefore still open at this time, these carriers and others may experience setbacks that can slow delivery times. Some distribution centers have lost workers due to employee strikes and some are closed completely due to the virus. Additionally, some shipping carriers have refocused their energy to support those fighting COVID-19, which may delay the delivery of nonessential items. UPS is collaborating with FEMA to provide supply chain services for the distribution of personal protective equipment, including respirators, masks and gloves, while FedEX is using their SenseAware technology to safely monitor the transportation of test specimens collected in select U.S. markets to laboratories.
Ship From Store as a Solution
While brick-and-mortar stores are closed for business, merchants are using ship-from-store as a solution, and using their stores as additional warehouses. This allows for stores to take the path of least resistance: they can use shipping services to reach nearby consumers quickly or make hand deliveries, cutting out the need for a shipping service altogether. These solutions have been implemented by merchants across the country, including Kendra Scott and Lululemon.
Texas based jewelry retailer Kendra Scott invested in an order management system last year, enabling them to turn its fleet of stores into distribution centers after their physical stores were shut down in March. Jim Dunlap, Kendra Scott CIO says the company has gotten thousands of calls for ship-from-store orders. Moving forward, Dunlap says they will plan to keep ship-from-store capability in place where it’s needed.
Similarly, high-end athletic retailer Lululemon has used digital initiatives to make up for lost revenues while their stores are closed. CEO Calvin McDonald says they have seen their online business accelerate since the changes have been made. Although their stores will not be open to the public, McDonald says turning on ship-from-store capability to make up for lost revenue is working.
Magento’s Omnichannel Capabilities
Magento Order Management System allows businesses to bridge the gap between their online and physical worlds. When businesses connect their site, retail stores, and warehouses with Magento Order Management they make the shopping experience seamless by allowing customers to shop, buy, and ship their purchases in a multitude of ways. Stores can easily turn into mini-distribution centers to enable ship-from-store functionality.
Additionally, Magento also has advanced inventory management capabilities, most notably Magento MSI. Magento’s Multi-Source Inventory (MSI) is designed for merchants with multiple inventory locations and sales channels, and allows them to manage these sources from the Magento 2 admin panel, without the need for a third-party extension. Magento MSI allows merchants to track inventory quantities across multiple locations or sources, ensuring that all virtual and on-hand products are accurately accounted for across multiple channels. MSI is flexible, with capabilities to support multiple warehouses, complex shipping networks, stores, drop shippers, and distribution centers.
Creatuity Can Help
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important for business owners to remain flexible if they want to continue to make a profit. By implementing omnichannel strategies such as ship-from-store, merchants worldwide who have closed their doors to the public can continue to make an income. If you’re a business owner looking for a solution during this time or wanting to optimize your business strategy, consider omnichannel commerce.
Interested in learning more about omnichannel commerce? Talk to our team of Magento experts today to see how we can help elevate your business.