In order to keep in-store business profitable for the long term, more and more retailers are entering the e-commerce business. With in-store fulfillment, they are responding to the growing online affinity of their customers and turning the store into a mini distribution center. This blog explains how companies can optimize their processes with Pick-by-Vision.
Whether it’s pasta, tomatoes, milk, or chocolate for in-between meals – the willingness to order groceries online is growing all the time. In-store fulfillment is thus establishing itself more and more as an alternative to the conventional shopping process. For the customer, this means much less effort. If a delivery service is also connected to the process, the customer does not even have to drive to the store. The goods are delivered directly to the customer’s door – in the shortest possible time. However, pick-up stations in stores, where online customers can pick up their goods, are currently the most widespread. This is quick, easy, and uncomplicated. But the processes behind it ensuring the basket has the right goods ready for pickup are complex.
A key success factor for in-store fulfillment is order picking, where humans will continue to play an important role in the coming years. Even retailers that already have highly automated micro-fulfillment centers in city centers continue to use employees for picking. The high cost of automation does not withstand a profitability audit at numerous locations. On the contrary: In order to be able to handle the continuously increasing number of orders and also to cope with order peaks, many retailers are currently even increasing their staff.
The employees act as order pickers and retrieve the goods previously ordered online from the shelves on behalf of the customer. In principle, the process in in-store fulfillment follows similar rules to those for picking in the warehouse. But there are some significant differences: Product positioning in the store is designed to maximize sales and not, as in a classic distribution center, to minimize the amount of work involved in assembling the goods. This makes it difficult to ensure efficient and highly productive picking.
But there are solutions available to help retailers to still implement a successful process in their own stores.
Retailers should think about the picking strategy in advance: For example, multi-order picking allows several customer orders to be processed in just one picking order. In addition, the capacity utilization of the individual carts should also be configured in advance. Particularly in the case of food orders, this can vary greatly due to the number, volume or weight of the individual orders. Valuable synergies can be generated here as well.
Different picking strategies can, of course, also be mapped manually. However, retailers can only do this in a modern and reliable manner with specialized logistics software. This software automatically calculates the right routes, combines orders and increases inventory security.
All employees should be equipped with assistance systems that support them in always picking the right goods in the right quantity. In the context of in-store fulfillment, picking quality is the key success factor alongside productivity. Only when the right goods end up in the basket are customers satisfied and will continue to use the service.
As it does in the distribution center, Pick-by-Vision with its visual guidance also proves itself in fulfillment in the store. The intuitive user interface, which is displayed on the screen of the smart glasses, supports the employees in picking the incoming online orders. The system guides them step by step through the process. To relieve the employees cognitively, the complexity of the overall process remains in the background. Only the information required for the respective work step is displayed on the smart glasses. Product visualizations can also be displayed in the user interface. When the employee arrives at the correct storage location, the smart glasses automatically show him the correct product as a photo and the quantity to be picked. He then confirms the removal of the correct item by scanning it or using voice control.
Picavi Pick-by-Vision also increases employee satisfaction in in-store fulfillment: Instead of rushing through the store’s aisles under high time pressure, they are navigated ergonomically through the entire process. They have both hands free at all times and thus benefit from significantly greater freedom of movement. This additionally contributes to efficiency and minimizes the error rate. New employees can also be onboarded within a very short time. The intuitive operation of the Picavi user interface quickly becomes second nature.
Click the button below for our free Picavi Vision Guide, “Smart Glasses in Logistics.”