The necessity of fast fulfillment is now a key factor in retailers’ ability to satisfy and delight their customers. With that fact firmly engrained, companies spent 2018 figuring out how to reconfigure their existing distribution networks and operational strategies to meet the goal of faster delivery, without giving up their margins in the process.
Two major categories have emerged with endless variation within them. First, some retailers are choosing to centralize e-commerce fulfilments in a location that facilitates two-day shipments for most customers. This trend has led to what looks like a very good year for cities in the non-coastal south like Nashville and St. Louis.
The second tactic is to use stores as a major part of e-commerce fulfillment. Both strategies have their own benefits and drawbacks, and so far a clear winner has not emerged. Plus, the endless technological variations inside the warehouse can often make just as much of an impact as what happens after a parcel leaves the facility.
The stories below show what retailers were willing to do to keep up with the breakneck speed of delivery customers have come to expect. We already know that consumers have responded with record-breaking spending, but 2019 will show if these efforts, especially through peak season, have turned purchases into profits.
Target puts stores at the center of its fulfillment strategy
After investing in store infrastructure to serve both online and in-person shoppers, Target's sales are surging ahead, proving its omnichannel strategy is paying off. Read More >>
Best Buy speeds up fulfillment with new, partly automated warehouse
Though the electronics retailer has focused on the store experience in recent years, optimizing delivery is top of mind. Read More >>
In the warehouse, bigger isn't always better
Supply chains are being redesigned to fulfill orders faster, and warehouse technology is emerging as a centerpiece. Read More >>
Pier 1 leans on fulfillment efficiency to revive slipping sales
Initiatives such as a new distribution scheme and warehouse consolidation are part of a broader strategy to address "execution issues" in the company's supply chain, executives said in an earnings call. Read More >>
4 trends in order fulfillment
Whether using new services, new technology or tackling new markets, shippers are working toward "fast and free." Read More >>
Flexible warehouse schemes emerge to meet supply chain demands
Retailers are creating pop-up supply chains to ensure they can quickly and cost-effectively respond to seasonal demand spikes and consumers’ desire for fast fulfillment. Read More >>
To optimize fulfillment, logistics have to play along
In an ideal world, retailers could fulfill a single order in one shipment. What's holding supply chains back? Read More >>
Lowe's supply chain overhaul starts in Nashville
The retailer opened a warehouse large enough to contain 22 football fields, which strategically positions it to ship to 75% of the country within two days. Read More >>