Is inventory or staffing the biggest omnichannel challenge for stores?
As the lines between online and in-store continue to blur, retailers see order fulfillment (29 percent) and limited staffing (29 percent) as equally difficult challenges at the store level, according to JDA Software Group’s second annual “Voice of the Store Manager Survey.”
The findings were based on a survey of 252 U.S.-based retail store managers in August.
Of those surveyed:
- Forty-four percent indicated their stores offer buy online, ship from store;
- Forty-one percent offer buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS);
- Forty percent offer buy in-store, ship to home;
- Thirty-eight percent offer buy online, return in-store (BORIS).
The survey found that many stores are hiring extra staff to pick, pack and ship in order to support these functions. Among those surveyed, 65 percent had staff allocated to support BOPIS; 64 percent to support buy in-store, ship to home; 61 percent for buy online, ship to store; and 49 percent to support buy in-store, ship to home/store from another store.
Retailers see inventory visibility as critical to meeting customer fulfillment timelines, according to the report. Forty-one percent of store managers, for instance, believe lack of visibility across inventory is the biggest difficulty when it comes to BOPIS services.
Thirty percent are unsure of what to do with the additional inventory received through BORIS, and lack direction as to whether to keep the extra stock at the store, return it to a distribution center or even another store. Additionally, nearly 30 percent of store managers reported a staff-related concern with regard to BORIS. Overall, two in three store managers reported some difficulty with the service.
Around staffing, the survey found that over 40 percent of seasonal holiday hires will be for fulfillment at stores/warehouses and not customer-facing. One-third planned to increase seasonal hiring for BOPIS.
- Successful Retailers Don’t Close Doors; They Open Windows to Fulfill Customer Expectations – JDA
- Successful Retailers Don’t Close Doors; They Open Windows – JDA
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which omnichannel function (BOPIS, BORIS, fulfill from store) do you see presenting the biggest challenge for physical stores? Is staffing or inventory visibility more complicated to resolve for stores?