click & collect Capabilities

How a WMS Helps Retailers Execute Click & Collect Capabilities

Click and collect is not a new concept. It refers to the
ability to buy online and pick up in store. The overwhelming majority of U.S.
retailers, up to 72 percent, lack click and collect capabilities, reports DC
Velocity.
Click and collect makes up a portion of true omnichannel
supply chains, allowing customers the freedom to shop online and pick up
products in the store. Because retailers are increasingly going omnichannel as
a result of the “Amazon Effect,” retailers have started using stores-as-a-distribution
center (SaaDC)
. However, in order to pull off click and collect
capabilities or implementing SaaDC, supply chain executives should look to a
WMS as a way to execute click and collect as well as SaaDC.

The Challenge of Click and Collect

The primary challenge of click and collect derives from the problems presented when attempting to expand the duties of the current workforce to offer click and collect services. Since the storefronts take on the characteristics of the warehouse or distribution center, resulting in the aforementioned SaaDC model, more workers may be necessary, driving costs upward. Also, retailers must have full inventory visibility to know when product specs can be fulfilled through the storefront, as well as communicate with consumers regarding when their purchases will be ready for pickup.

Click & Collect Capabilities Give Customers Freedom of Choice and Flexibility

In today’s omnichannel and same day delivery expectations retail environment, offering click and collect capabilities are essential to ensuring a positive omnichannel customer experience. While customers may choose to shop online, they want the freedom and flexibility that accompanies picking products up in the store. Unfortunately, retailers lack the capabilities necessary to offer the service. Essentially, retailers must be able to transform their existing in-store layout into a warehouse-like operation, where workers act as both customer service representatives and pickers. As a result, it is essential to follow a few best practices to achieve this feat. According to Supply Chain 24/7, these practices include:

  1. Think of in-store picks as warehouse picks,
    requiring efficient, optimal routes.
  2. Determine order fulfillment cycle time. Although
    this may not seem like a metric to track, knowing the amount of time necessary
    to pick a click and collect order is essential to making it profitable.
  3. Ensure picker accuracy. Tracking the accuracy of
    orders picked in-store will give pickers the ability to increase accuracy and
    completes tasks within shorter time frames. This is essential to making buy
    online and pick up in-store, profitable, but it also ensures workers
    efficiently perform their duties.
  4. Consider the impact on in-store labor resources.
    Implementing click and
    collect capabilities sounds excellent, but it is much more complicated
    than meets the eye. It would be impractical to require in-store workers to handle
    online orders in addition to their existing job duties, so it may be necessary
    to hire additional workers.
  5. Gather transactional data. In the same manner as
    tracking information regarding online and in-store purchases, retailers should
    track information related to buying online and picking up in store. This allows
    companies to fine-tune picking processes and identify the potential problems
    that lead to delays in picking online orders in the store.

How a WMS Enables Click & Collect Capabilities

Although a WMS may not seem like the solution for buying online and picking up in-store, the similarities between using a storefront as a distribution center and actual warehouse management resemble one another. As a result, a WMS, when applied to a warehouse, has the same implication for in-store online order fulfillment. It should provide unmatched visibility, route optimization, slotting optimization, and much more. In the storefront, these actions may amount to better inventory accuracy, the creation of pathways for picking orders for workers, relocation of products to be closer to products frequently ordered together, and so on.

Expand Your Shipping and Pickup Options With a WMS

A true omnichannel supply chain allows customers freedom in
shopping online and in the store. The ability to offer to buy online and pick
up in-store is essential to creating and maintaining an omnichannel supply
chain, and supply chain executives need to expand their available shipping and
pickup options to offer this vital service. Fortunately, deploying a robust, enterprise
wide WMS can help supply chains meet this need while providing the benefits
throughout the entire supply chain, ranging from the distribution center to
manufacturers and beyond.