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How Can an Integrated Retail Management System Facilitate Same-Day Deliveries and In-Store Pickups?

Delivery truck offering same day delivery

Same-day delivery bombed during the boom of the dot-com era, but now, it’s trying to make a comeback and raise the competition among retailers. Retailers will need an integrated retail management system to respond to this new wave of customer expectations.

What’s the force propelling the same-day delivery movement? Traditional retailers are under pressure to operate like online shops, the Boston Consulting Group explains in a post on the Enterra Insights blog. E-commerce retailers such as Amazon offer fast delivery along with discount prices.

Now, search engine giant Google is throwing its hat into the ring, recently announcing that it will offer same-day courier service for online goods in the San Francisco Bay Area. Citing an article from The Washington Post, the Enterra Insights post describes how Google is testing a new retail delivery service in which a select group of people are able to purchase items from online retailers like Target, Staples and Walgreens while receiving “same-day delivery through a Google courier service.”

While same-day delivery is an interesting concept for retailers to keep an eye on, it’s not something that most retailers at the midmarket level should get on board with yet. For starters, they’d need to understand how same-day delivery would impact their bottom line. If implementing such a program would cost more than it would make, then it doesn’t make sense.

Any retailer would be taking a big risk with same-day delivery. There are so many unknowns. A better decision would be to take a baby step by offering same-day, in-store pickup service. From a logistics standpoint, that would be easier to implement, and it still provides the instant gratification that more customers are seeking these days.

Still, to offer a same-day, in-store pickup service, retailers do need an integrated retail management system. For example, if a customer is on the e-commerce site and wants to pick up a product at the store, the retailer's system needs to know what’s in stock and give immediate feedback to the customer that his items can be picked up at “these” locations

Furthermore, the system must ensure that the items being picked up are no longer available to be purchased by another customer. This may entail the system to direct an employee to pick the item from the store shelves and mark it so that when the purchasing customer arrives, it can be quickly found. However, it’s not nearly as complicated as trying to make a same-day delivery to someone’s house, which makes a same day, in-store pickup service a good starting point for most retailers.

Source: Enterra Insights, May 2013