Same-day Delivery Means a Focus on Brick-and-Mortar

May 31, 2013 10:48 AM  By

same-day-delivery-image-300Same-day delivery in the United States is an elusive beast. Almost every online retailer wants to do it, but many are scratching their heads as to how.

When is comes to getting into the realm of same-day shipping it’s not about building a warehouse in every state or waiting to see what Amazon does. According to Shutl CEO and founder Tom Allason, it’s all about focusing on your brick-and-mortar store.

Getting into the same-day delivery game is not about trying to ship a sweater in a New York City warehouse to a customer in Seattle in one day.  Retailers need to focus on “expanding your brick-and-mortar footprint” and bring the store to the customer’s home in a logistical way, Allason said.

Same-day delivery can happen for most retailers but there is a catch. “It is attainable but for only a portion of their customers,” Allason said. And those customers, he said, need to live 10 to 15 miles away from a retailer’s traditional brick-and-mortar store.

Why? In order to become a goliath in your own right with same-day delivery you need to start using your traditional storefront as an expanded version of your warehouse and that is where companies like Shutl comes in. While they are not exactly shippers in the industry, Shutl is a software company that uses retailer’s ecommerce platform and connects them with local same-day carriers.

So how can U.S. retailers begin to think about localized same-day shipping? Allason shared these three tips for retailers looking to get into the game:

The first order of business for retailers is to never think about closing your traditional brick-and-mortar store. “This is exactly what Amazon wants,” Allason said. If you begin closing your traditional brick and mortar stores, he said, you’re basically shutting down your localized warehouses.

Make sure you have solid visibility of the products in stock both online and in store. “A majority of retailers do not have visibility of stock in store,” Allason said, which can slow down the ship-from-store process. In order for retailers to perfect same-day delivery, they need to have the right ecommerce platforms that can easily and quickly identify what is in stock online and what is in stock in your store.

Retailers need to offer incentives to store associates. Your employees at brick-and-mortar stores need to receive motivations to move product outside of the store and be compensated just as your ecommerce personnel will be.

If a retailer is ready to move ahead with same-day delivery, Allason said, the process from start to finish could take as quick as three months “if it’s a top priority within the company.” The challenge in moving forward, he said, was that same-day delivery “touches every part of a retailers business” from ecommerce technology, in the warehouse, supply chains, logistics, marketing, and in store technology and staff.

Although Shutl has yet to make any deliveries in the United States, the United Kingdom based Shutl will be launching soon in Chicago, New York City and San Francisco according to Allason, with the first same-day delivery expected to go live within the next 30 days.

Shutl’s site also states that there will be additional same-day delivery launches in the near future including Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, Washington, Montreal, Toronto, and Tampa.