As consumers continue to shop from the comfort of home, retailers are evolving their real estate plans turning more storefronts into distribution centers for their omnichannel logistics strategy, according to several recent reports.

Even as foot traffic at stores and malls encroaches on pre-pandemic levels, retailers are reconfiguring physical stores as fulfillment hubs to provide a competitive advantage and drive omnichannel sales, according to the 2022 State of the Industry Report from Innovative Commerce Serving Communities (ICSC).

And this shift makes sense.

According to McKinsey & Company’s “Beyond the distribution center,” a combination of eCommerce sales of 30% more than pre-COVID and higher customer expectations regarding delivery speed has necessitated a move beyond the traditional centralized distribution center (DC) model.

Speed of delivery is a significant factor in this shift to turning sometimes underused retail spaces into micro-DCs.

According to Total Retail, 90 percent of consumers expect two- to three-day shipping as the standard baseline, and 30 percent demand same-day delivery

A survey by Bringg of retail and logistics executives showed that 68% of respondents already offered same-day delivery or would do so by the end of this year.

However, the report further showed that connectivity is a barrier for those looking to expand their distribution network to include the additional carriers needed to service these multiple and disparate DCs. In addition, shipper onboarding and integration with carriers were named as an obstacle by 44% of respondents.

This disconnect between aligning carriers and shippers is where last-mile TMS with an extensive and flexible multi-carrier management capability proves to be essential, especially as shippers turn increasingly to regional and local carriers.

Regional delivery services, which specialize in short-haul deliveries, comprise only about 8% of the overall US parcel market but cover more than 85% of the US population. And as more local and hyper-local carriers are added to the mix, understanding the difference in pricing, services, speed, sustainability, and other factors is vital to ensuring success.

By using final mile TMS carrier connectivity tools, businesses can diversify their carrier network and ensure they have the right mix of global, national, regional, and local carriers to minimize the risk of delivery interruptions.

Final mile TMS can help omnichannel shipping strategies

Here are four ways technology can help as omnichannel shipping strategies take center stage to meet the demands of your customers:

  • Multi-shipper management. A multi-carrier shipping system offers retailers more complete control over end-to-end multi-carrier shipping system deployment, configuration, and support.
  • Break down silos. Operational and departmental silos are among the biggest obstacles to an effective omnichannel fulfillment operation. Retailers need to enable integration and collaboration to keep omnichannel fulfillment efficient and profitable.
  • Improve inventory management. Utilizing more locations to hold and ship inventory makes it easy to lose track of what’s available. Instead, maintain detailed inventory records, develop a parts entry protocol, automate essential workflows, and utilize systems that increase inventory visibility throughout the supply chain.
  • Invest in technology. The proper logistics technology can take a complicated strategy and make it easier to manage. A misstep along the way in inventory management, sortation, picking and packing, shipping management, product replenishment, and more can eliminate the benefits of taking on an omnichannel strategy.

Omnichannel fulfillment will continue to grow as consumers shop from laptops, tablets, and smartphones and expect those purchases to show up quickly and for as low shipping charges as possible.

Register for the Supply Chain Webinar on June 14 at 1 PM EDT, featuring Sendflex Technology and Pierbridge discussing how final mile TMS helps you control costs, capacity, carbon, and customer delivery experiences