How to Simplify Ship-from-Store and Capitalize on Back to School Sales
Back to school season is here, and with it comes a massive wave of retail spending. Deloitte estimates that spending will reach $28.1 billion for K-12 students and $25.4 billion for college students. With over $50 billion in spending on the line, it’s critical for retailers to have a plan in place to capitalize on students purchasing supplies for the school year.
But that plan has to take into account all of the changes in customer spending that have come as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With many schools shifting to distance learning or hybrid models of online/in-school learning, the supplies that students need are shifting as well. While students will still be purchasing basic supplies such as notebooks, pencils, and scissors, many will also be purchasing other necessities for distance learning, such as headphones, desks and desk organizers, printers, tablet devices, and better internet routers.
COVID-19 will also shift back-to-school spending further from in-store purchases towards online purchases. More than half of shoppers for K-12 students say that they will purchase supplies online, up from 49% last year. All other shopping destinations, such as department stores, discount stores, and clothing stores, are expected to see declines in traffic. Some retailers such as Target have found success in focusing on online channels, with digital sales accelerating during the pandemic.
These pressures are making ship-from-store services more important to a successful retail strategy. Ship-from-store also circumvents other logistical issues around online order fulfillment, such as UPS planning to impose sizable fees on large shippers during busy seasons, by decreasing the distance, overall cost, and time it takes to fulfill online orders. However, it takes effective store execution processes to ensure that ship-from-store services are quick and effective. If store associates don’t have real-time visibility into pending tasks, and if store managers don’t have visibility into which ship-from-store orders have been completed, then orders will be fulfilled slowly and customers will be frustrated.
Streamlining ship-from-store services can be accomplished by equipping store associates with real-time task management, giving them a single, mobile-first view of all pending tasks, alerts, and other critical store execution information. This way, store associates receive a notification whenever a new ship-from-store order needs to be fulfilled and can see priority level, which is based on ship from store date and criticality of other in-store tasks.
Store managers also get real-time visibility into whether ship-from-store tasks have been completed. This helps them manage by exception, pinpointing opportunities to improve the efficiency of ship-from-store services. In doing so, you can drive continuous improvements to stores and maximize ROI.
With so much back-to-school spending on the line, it’s essential to look for avenues to capitalize on all of that spending, especially in a time when customers are reluctant to come into retail stores. By implementing real-time task management, you can streamline ship-from-store processes and ensure that your retail stores provide quick and effective online order fulfillment for your customers.
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