Why online retailers benefit from a bricks-and-mortar presence

By Nell Walker
As customer needs change, so must manufacturers, retailers, and their supply chains. Demand for swift delivery, thanks to standards set by the likes of...

As customer needs change, so must manufacturers, retailers, and their supply chains. Demand for swift delivery, thanks to standards set by the likes of Amazon, is at the highest level ever, and retailers are – perhaps surprisingly – turning to their stores to provide fulfilment.

Using the resources that are readily available, retailers are more likely to be able to expedite their online orders, meaning that they don’t necessarily have to open separate facilities to house their products. Online services can benefit hugely from a bricks-and-mortar presence, and the combination is disrupting the supply chain as retailers become their own warehouses.

The fusion of a physical and an online presence is vital to support the infrastructure of any given business, according to Dan Neiweem, Co-Founder and Principal at Avionos, and it also enables greater flexibility and stability of the supply chain.

Neiweem said: “As demand for next-day delivery continues to rise, retailers need to re-strategise how to meet the influx in their supply chain. We’re seeing more businesses deviate from using separate warehouses to fulfil orders, using their brick-and-mortar storefronts instead.

“This allows for scale and support of in-store and online sales simultaneously, and works to meet customer expectations for fast and seamless shopping experiences. With the Amazon/Whole Foods acquisition we just saw this concept manifest as Amazon significantly added to their brick-and-mortar presence with the addition of physical grocery locations, using Whole Foods items to enhance Pantry stock. 

“Target Restock is a great example of this as well. The retailer knew they had to get on the next-day delivery bandwagon if they wanted to meet customer demand and compete with Amazon and Walmart. To do so they’re using their in-store stock to fulfil orders and employees to deliver products, creating a more streamlined path within the supply chain.

“In the coming months, it will be interesting to see how Target is able to scale this process to be sustainable, and how other retailers will follow suit.”

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