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How to Combat 3 Challenges of Store Fulfillment

Blog Post
We dig into three of the biggest challenges retailers are currently facing with their omnichannel fulfillment strategy and offer some actionable solutions.
man holding boxes for in store pickup of something ordered

In a survey conducted by Raydiant, 56% of respondents noted that they’ve used BOPIS more than 6 times in the last 12 months. Nearly 86% of the same customer base surveyed said that they’re likely to use in-store pickup the same or more than they did in 2020.  

While this presents a great opportunity for retailers and eCommerce businesses, there are some roadblocks to successfully implementing the store fulfillment model.  

In this post, we’re going to dig into three of the biggest challenges retailers are currently facing with their omnichannel fulfillment strategy and offer some actionable solutions you can implement today to streamline the order fulfillment process.  

Inefficient Picking Process 

Since customer orders are often picked from the shelves, your employees have to walk the aisles multiple times a day to fill up carts, baskets, boxes, and bags on your customers’ behalf.  

Unfortunately, this is often a painfully inefficient and labor-intensive process, as employees walk the same routes over and over again to fulfill similar orders made throughout the day.  

Batch Orders Together 

Rather than filling customer orders one at a time or sending multiple employees to the same location to pick two separate orders, try batching orders together by product type or location. That way, your employees can gather all the products needed from a particular department in one go.  

For example, if you receive multiple BOPIS and BOPAC orders for a particular type of shoe, you could have an employee grab all of them at the same time and sort the products into separate containers to keep everything organized. They might also tackle orders in nearby areas to avoid taking unnecessary trips from the floor to the backroom.  

Real-Time Inventory Accuracy 

The ability to see inventory availability in real-time, and share that availability with your customers, is critical to balancing foot traffic with online shopping.  

Without it, in-store shoppers can swipe the last product off a shelf and leave online customers waiting for weeks for a new shipment to arrive and fulfill their BOPIS order.  

Omnichannel Fulfillment Services 

By partnering with an omnichannel fulfillment services provider like Radial, you can track inventory organization-wide in real-time. For instance, if an in-store shopper in Atlanta purchases the last t-shirt of a particular size and color, your online store will update to say so.  

As a result, online shoppers who come looking to purchase that exact product can make educated order fulfillment decisions (be it waiting for the product to come back in stock, curbside pickup at a different location, or delivery). No surprise backorders or stockouts.  

Space Limitations 

One of the biggest limitations retail businesses deal with when fulfilling online orders at brick-and-mortar locations is space. They simply aren’t designed to act as both warehouses and fulfillment centers and provide a great customer experience at the same time.  

Rethink Your Use of Space 

The most functional spaces are those that serve dual purposes. Rather than making new additions to your brick-and-mortar store or creating new buildings in your lot, find ways to use what you already have.  

You can add pop-up kiosks or lockers to the front of your store to allow customers to self-serve their order pickup. Customer service spaces can assist in assembling and handing off BOPIS orders. Signage can be hung from ceilings or stuck to the floor to keep the space open and accessible for everyone. And the side and back of your building can be used for curbside pickup zones or other contactless options you might be offering to your customers.  

In this way, you can serve more people in the same space, regardless of the sales channels and order fulfillment options they choose.  

Using the store fulfillment model as part of your omnichannel fulfillment strategy is smart, but it doesn’t come without its logistic challenges. You can get ahead of the difficulty by repurposing your space, batching customer orders together, and partnering with an omnichannel fulfillment services provider, though. And in doing all the above, your retail or eCommerce business can deliver an exceptional customer experience and increase customer satisfaction.