Today’s figures show warehouses are proving a resourceful option for businesses trying to keep up with online demand. As we navigate the uncertainty of another lockdown, the only way physical stores can compete with e-commerce is a radical rethink of physical space. This means retailers working with the government to keep stores open in a ‘local delivery hub’ format – using local stores as delivery warehouses for regional orders to meet the current demand for last-mile deliveries. Retailers can then make compelling offers in collaboration with suppliers to move stock out of the supply chain and improve efficiency – and ultimately boost sales.
To employ this model successfully, retailers need to establish a partnership with last-mile delivery partners to complete home deliveries from stores. This added logistical cost can be somewhat offset by partnering with other suppliers to add on free samples to orders – an effective way to drive up sales.
Converting local stores into local warehouses would be a major step in supporting the struggling High Street. This is possible for retail businesses which are omni-channel in nature and able to take on orders against local store inventory. Even Amazon is struggling with last-mile delivery, recently announcing holiday shoppers can collect items at retail locations to keep up with demand, so store warehouses are clearly something to consider moving forward. If it’s widely adopted, the evolution of brick-and-mortar could help retailers win back their share in the sales boom for years to come.