Over the past several months, retailers have been fulfilling orders in new ways mainly due to the pandemic and store closures. Consumers are becoming accustomed to these new methods, and even expect it wherever they shop. To be successful in today’s ‘retail world’, it’s important to know your customers’ preferences and offer the fulfillment methods to meet their needs. In this blog, we discuss various order fulfillment options retailers have for different types of customers.
Know your customers
Whether serving customers in store or online, you need to be ready to get your products to all types of customers, regardless of their new expectations. Some customers can’t wait to get back into your store; while others are hesitant to leave their home regardless of local guidelines, especially the elderly or those at-risk of contracting COVID-19. Then there’s the customers who prefer the convenience of ordering online with same day pickup.
What type of customers do you mainly serve?
New Fulfillment Methods for Retailers
Most experts agree, the changes in shopping behavior we’ve seen over the last 5 months are here to stay. Whether your customer’s expect certain conveniences, or require them for safety reasons, it’s important you offer the fulfillment methods that meet the needs of your customers. Here are 6 fulfillment options for retailers to consider:
- Curbside pickup: This method provides customers with the convenience of picking up their order without having to go inside your store. To help streamline the process, Celerant developed a Curbside Pickup Application that organizes your orders, and communicates the status of each order with each customer.
- In-home delivery: Customers that are not able to, or reluctant to leave their home will prefer home delivery. You can offer this method over the phone, and by adding this option to the checkout process on your eCommerce website.
- Same day pickup: To provide same day pickup, customers must be able to access their local store’s live inventory. With Celerant’s Virtual Store, you can easily display each of your stores’ live inventory online. The virtual store pulls product data from the point of sale database allowing you to quickly begin offering same day pickup with accurate inventory levels.
- Free delivery: Some consumers are willing to shop around for the best deals, including free shipping. This order fulfillment option can help you remain competitive, especially if you compete with Amazon Prime or your competitors are offering it. Look online to see what your competitors offer!
- Drop shipping: Offloading order fulfillment to a 3rd party allows you to focus more on your customers. Orders can be delivered to your customer’s home, or to your store for pickup.
- Buy Online, Pickup In Store (BOPIS): Buy online, pickup in store provides customers the convenience of online shopping without the hassle of paying for, or waiting on shipping.
Which fulfillment methods do you offer?
Challenges You Might Encounter
While these new order fulfillment methods for retailers offer many positives for both you and your customers, it’s likely you will encounter challenges along the way. It’s important to anticipate these challenges now, and make a plan to overcome them. With the right technology and processes, you can provide the fulfillment methods that best suits your customers’ needs. They will feel appreciated, and most likely to continue shopping with you.