As the global pandemic confined consumers to their homes, record volumes of online sales motivated retailers to adjust online fulfillment strategies and capitalize on emerging demands for food, health and safety necessities, home office/school supplies – even exercise equipment and entertainment products.
In the 1980s, Service Merchandise was a retail force. The “catalog showroom” shopping experience attracted scores of customers. Beyond the “touch and feel” aspect of products on display, the retailer evolved forward-thinking fulfillment strategies using brick-and-mortar satellite order-only centers linked to an off-site warehouse. These suburban locations offered customers convenience and the promise of inventory that is always in-stock.
In retail, timing is everything. Deliver what consumers want where and when they want it, and you can carve a success path that lasts until consumer preferences change or another company performs your functions better. A lesson learned by retailers like Blockbuster, Circuit City and Sears: Your time in the limelight is limited before someone comes and steals it.
Knowing that customers flocked to its stores to “experience” a select number of products, and willing to test out new technologies and retail strategies, Service Merchandise nailed fulfillment and omnichannel in the 1980s with its showroom-catalog approach.
Consumer products manufacturers’ e-commerce operations need a reverse logistics process that can handle a high volume of returned merchandise efficiently and effectively.
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If your well-established Consumer Packaged Goods company is like many legacy brands, e-commerce is in your future – if it’s not part of your strategy already.