RetailWire panelists weighed in last week on a recent Kurt Salmon study about e-commerce order fulfillment, after some of the well-reported problems in late 2013. The study recommended that retailers use their brick-and-mortar locations more robustly as fulfillment centers, especially at peak times. There were plenty of red flags raised by panelists, including this comment:
There is no doubt that order fulfillment from brick-and-mortar store locations is growing. It’s a feasible way to leverage store inventory and payroll, especially given better forecasting, partnering with carriers, and so forth. But there is one big caveat: Do physical locations have the payroll and skill set to execute a rush of last-minute holiday orders, at the same time that they are pressed to staff the checkout lanes and restock the shelves? It’s hard to add a completely different function (with an unpredictable demand workflow) while also trying to leverage existing payroll costs.