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Almost Half of E-Commerce Orders Will Be Fulfilled by Stores This Holiday

By Vikas Aron,
Almost Half of E-Commerce Orders Will Be Fulfilled by Stores This Holiday

The holiday shopping season is now in full swing, and the initial metrics are in. Early data shows digital consumers to be very active, with 103 million shoppers buying online, compared with 102 million shopping at brick and mortar stores, per the NRF’s Thanksgiving Weekend Survey.

These online shoppers were a healthy mix of bargain hunters lured by Cyber Monday deals, mobile shoppers and some consumers simply trying to escape the growing social stigma of Thanksgiving shopping.

The Forgotten Statistic

One statistic that is sometimes overlooked is the percentage of e-commerce orders that are fulfilled through a brick and mortar store. Many retailers now leverage their physical locations as fulfillment centers, with store associates acting not only as sales clerks but also as fulfillment specialists.

Retailers that we have spoken to report that around 30-40 percent, with some exceeding 50 percent, of their e-commerce orders this holiday season will be fulfilled not from distribution centers but via store inventory.

The advantages of handling fulfillment using stores are many. Stores can be used to increase the speed of delivery to the customer, and ship-from-store can be a relief valve to siphon orders that the fulfillment center cannot handle. Many retailers also redirect fulfillment resources to stores when foot traffic falls, such as in the case of weather events or just during slow times mid-week.

As e-commerce continues to grow, the manner by which orders are fulfilled has become a critical consideration when getting inventory into homes for the holidays in a profitable manner.