Ship to Store for Pickup allows the stores to access the DC’s inventory to keep consumers happy. This is similar to BOPIS, but the inventory comes from a different source. When pulled off effectively, this can be a major competitive advantage, but the flow is ripe with operational pitfalls and requires a high amount of coordination.
Drop-shipping has grown in popularity over the last decade as retailer realize they can extend SKU assortment and in some cases onboard new suppliers through incubation by first starting with drop-ship. The implications, however, still impact store operations and the broader organization, from customer support all the way to finance and inventory control.
There’s many names for this flow in industry. Some call it “Endless Aisle” while others have internal project name such as “Store to Door” or “Save the Sale”. Regardless of what it’s called, this flow gives the store assocaites the power to offer all network inventory to the customer, typically from hand-held devices on the store floor. While extremely beneficial, without the right inventory promising strategy and an effective supply chain fulfillment engine, the promis becomes “empty” and retailers risk upsetting customers.