Traditionally, retailers dedicate a specific regional warehouse to a group of stores, and use one warehouse for their e-commerce website. Nowadays, companies are realizing that in order to keep up with the one- or two-day delivery times offered by big players such as Amazon, they are going to need to up their game. Instead of running one warehouse per channel, companies are now seeing the advantages of operating omnichannel warehouses that interact with each other seamlessly.
on 27 Jun 2017 1:33 PM
Recently, Europe’s number one sports retailer, Decathlon, repurposed all of their warehouses so that they are now used for both physical stores and e-commerce, and the warehouses work together to ensure that customers receive their orders within a target delivery time of two or three days. The previous warehousing arrangement had one store warehouse per region and one warehouse, located in the Lille area, for e-commerce stock. Nowadays, store and e-commerce stock can be collected from all Decathlon warehouses and sent to any store or home to fulfill a request. While Decathlon’s online turnover in France is still only approximately 3% of their annual revenue, they saw a 35% growth in online purchases in 2015, and this is only going to continue to grow.
While e-commerce continues to see significant growth at most companies, we are also seeing the growing popularity of Click and Collect. Customers tend to browse store content online before purchasing, and Click and Collect gives them to option to purchase online and collect in-store. A significant advantage of this method is the ease of returns. If it’s not exactly what you envisioned, you can just leave it in the store and request a refund.
The main advantage of an omnichannel warehouse is the opportunity for companies to significantly reduce delivery times in all areas. With Amazon’s ability to guarantee same day deliveries, it is important for other companies to be able to compete in a similar manner. It is also of great importance for these updated warehouses to use a Warehouse Management System (WMS) that is configured for an omnichannel approach. This is so that stock can be compiled from several warehouses at once and delivered together within the same delivery window. The future of in-store and online shopping dictates that we move away from separate silos of information and towards a more global and collaborative platform.