Study Finds a Winning Combination for Fulfillment

Balancing customer experience with cost containment

Author: Monica Melton

June 26, 2017

Not all fulfillment options are equal.

A new study from Retail Systems Research (RSR) found that when it comes to fulfillment, successful retailers appear to be focused not only on customer experience, but also on cost containment and efficiency. These retailers favored direct shipments to consumers from central fulfillment centers, a cost containment measure, and same-day shipping, a customer experience must.

On the other hand, these “winning” retailers, defined by RSR as those with annual sales growth of more than 4.5%, de-emphasized shipping from stores. “They know that picking and shipping from the store can lead to uncontrolled costs that destroy per-order profitability,” the study said.

Winning retailers were almost three times as likely as others in the survey—20% vs. 7%—to cite shipping to stores as their preferred fulfillment option, however.

A survey earlier this year among retail executives in North America by Boston Retail Partners also illustrated the challenges of the ship-from-store model. Only 10% of respondents said shipping from their stores was working well.