Think Like a Warehouse for Efficient In-Store Fulfillment

As e-commerce continues to increase, multi-channel merchants are reevaluating the way they do business. Most retailers discover that retail associates working in a store are not as efficient at fulfilling orders as the typical distribution center, which is automated and precise in its fulfillment.

In order for retailers to allow their stores to be efficient points of distribution, both the right technology and people will need to be involved. Michael Koploy, ERP Analyst at Software Advice, has some tips for retailers to make their stores run more like the warehouse:

Improve Item-Level Tracking with RFID
Without accurate inventory tracking, it’s virtually impossible to determine from where items should be fulfilled. RFID enables retailers to:

  • Ask suppliers to use RFID tags on replenishment items in order to provide insight and also help store associates locate and replenish inventory.
  • Use mobile RFID readers and scanners to keep tabs on inventory within the store to allow associates to go about their floor duties while also fulfilling online orders.
  • Utilize a people-counting system to know when the busiest hours occur, and thus when to schedule staff.
  • Implement Workforce Management Software to help forecast labor needs and schedules.

Employ the Right Staff
In addition to the aforementioned items, retailers may want to reevaluate their hiring criteria in order to improve the productivity of their workforce. Rather than hiring the lowest cost employees, who can often be young adults that may not consider your store as a “real job,” investing in more experienced employees with multi-tasking skills will allow for motivated staff that fulfills orders quickly. Once hired, staff should be trained to approach fulfillment in a systematic way.

Track and Trace
More accurate tracking and shipment capabilities at the store-level offers retailers the ability to link their store and warehouse inventories and achieve the most efficient inventory management.

Aside from item-level tracking in the store, reevaluating employees and tracking, share your thoughts on additional ways retailers can make for in-store fulfillment to be successful by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages.