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Key to Success in 2017: Turning Your Store Into an Online Distribution Center

Key to Success in 2017: Turning Your Store Into an Online Distribution Center

online distribution centerOver the next year, we’re going to see more retailers leveraging their physical brick and mortar store as delivery hubs. Using a store as an online distribution center offers faster customer fulfillment. An online distribution center also provides more agile access to inventory. This multichannel approach, called omni-channel, is the key to staying competitive against online giants, like Amazon.

What is Omni-Channel

Omni-channel capabilities are revolutionizing retailers and distribution center operations everywhere. Omni-channel, as defined by Google, is “ensuring [retailer] marketing strategies are geared toward enabling customers to convert on any channel.” Hubspot defines it as the ability to “deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels, while factoring in the different devices that consumers are using to interact with your business.”

It’s all about keeping up with the tech-savvy consumer who wants to order anything…anytime…from anywhere. Likewise, supply chains are responding to these demands with the ability to sell products online and offline.

Benefits to Turn Your Store into an Online Distribution Center

Brick and mortar stores aren’t going away. However, the boom of online shopping has forced retailers to rethink the way they’re doing business. The shopping world is changing as people are heading to the web- not the mall- in search of bargains.

MultiChannel Merchant reports,
“U.S. retail sales excluding automobiles and gasoline is expected to grow 3-4% in 2017, according to the Fitch Ratings Outlook, consistent with the 3.8% growth Fitch predicted for 2016. The analysts at Fitch predict that more than half of such retail growth will occur online, while in-store growth will account for just 1% of the gains.”

In retail, converting a physical store to an online distribution center will satisfy the majority of today’s connected customer (and save them from turning away to the connected competition).

Extending the capabilities of a retail distribution network also offers the ability to leverage existing investments into inventory offering the highest possible margin.

Prepare for Your Online Distribution Centitle=”Delivering a Seamless Customer Experience” ter Change

Online distribution centers operate much differently from old-school physical stores. Many store designs allow them to maximize sales floor space. So, when fulfilling digital orders, the backend must have adequate space to process, pack and ship outbound orders to deliver a seamless customer experience.

Allocating the proper space and equipment should ensure accuracy is not compromised. Store-level systems, such as barcode technology and software to print packing slips and shipping labels, can further enhance accuracy.

Stay relevant in today’s omni-channel retail environment by expanding upon the value of your retail offerings. Whether you are a small business just beginning to automate, or are a large organization looking for a total turnkey integrated packaging line, Hughes Enterprises has the in-house capability to lay out and tailor a solution to meet your specific needs.

Contact our representatives to learn more about transition to an online distribution center today.