Learn how to get started with a ship from store strategy using Starshipit.
This guide covers how to approach setting up ship from store, including the platforms you might want to have in place.
Want to discuss this with our shipping experts? Book a consultation with us.
Watch the video
What is ship from store?
Ship from store is a shipping approach where you use your brick-and-mortar inventory to meet orders originating from your online sales platforms, such as Shopify or BigCommerce.
Basically, when a customer makes a purchase through an online store, the order is routed to a physical store for fulfillment rather than being processed at a centralised warehouse. Ship from store aims to reduce order fulfillment times and, in some cases, lower transportation expenses. It can also help to reduce deadstock by improving inventory turnover.
Why ship from store?
When implemented correctly, a ship from store strategy reduces delivery times by utilising local retail inventory for online orders. This strategy enhances customer satisfaction, minimises shipping costs, and optimises inventory management. Additionally, it leverages your brick-and-mortar stores as distribution hubs, streamlining your supply chain and ensuring efficient and timely order fulfillment.
To back this up, one study from Newstore found that 68% of customers reported convenient fulfillment options such as buying from one store, while collecting from another, were at the top of their list of buying considerations.
Here are some of the other benefits:
Keep freight costs down: Shipping from store is a great way to combat rising freight costs if you have a network of stores, but don’t have multiple fulfilment centres.
Improve inventory turnover and reduce deadstock: Fulfilling online orders using retail stock means higher inventory turnover (less ageing stock). It also helps you to avoid the issue of deadstock.
Increase delivery speed: Ship from store is a great way to improve your delivery speed and achieve faster delivery timeframes (like same-day delivery)
Reduce cart abandonment: Free shipping (and shorter shipping timeframes) can have a big impact on reducing cart abandonment. Using the ship from store model can help you to more easily meet these timeframes.
Reduce the impact of warehouse issues: With your retail stores able to service online orders, any problems with your main warehouse become far less of a concern. For example, if you need to temporarily close the warehouse.
How to get started with Ship from Store
If you decide to ship from store, you’ll have a few decisions to make, including how to structure your order routing, point of sale, delivery and post-purchase communications.
Note: Every ship from store strategy will be different based on your business needs, so it's important to understand the different options available to you. In this section, we’ll broadly cover the key parts of a ship from store strategy that you’ll need to consider.
We've also got a growing list of helpful guides created by our partners, covering various considerations for ship from store with their platforms:
Order routing is the process of determining the most efficient and cost-effective way to fulfill an online order by selecting a specific retail store as the fulfilment location. Most retailers will have a criteria matrix that prioritises one location over another. These criteria could include factors like:
Which stores have stock?
Lowest cost delivery
Can the location fulfil the entire order?
Prioritise stores with higher stock levels
How you route orders will depend on factors like which platforms you’re currently using, whether that’s your OMS or a dedicated solution.
You can view a full list of the all the platforms (and carriers) that Starshipit integrates with here on our integrations page. For other platforms, you may want to check out our API page.
If you’re just using Starshipit to handle order routing, you’re limited by the conditions the Starshipit rules engine includes (like destination post code). You’ll need an OMS or other platform to route based on the conditions we’ve outlined above.
You can offer many different shipping options to your customers, including standard, express, same-day and more.
This is important, as customers are increasingly demanding more choice when it comes to shipping, and faster delivery timeframes. In fact, one report from McKinsey shows that over 90% of US online customers expect free shipping within a couple of days.
Many carriers now offer on-demand shipping, enabling customers to receive their orders well within the same day they place an order.
On demand delivery providers include:
Check out our full list of carriers on our integrations page.
Point of sale
Businesses must carefully choose POS systems that facilitate quick and reliable transactions. Just as customers expect prompt online order fulfillment, they also anticipate swift and seamless experiences at physical points of sale, emphasising the importance of choosing POS systems that align with evolving consumer preferences.
You may want to use your existing POS for your store staff to fulfil from, or Starshipit – more on this to below.
Point of sale systems include:
Microsoft Nav vison
Finally, customers expect to be kept in the loop after they’ve placed an order. With the appropriate permissions, send text and email notifications for every stage of the delivery journey. This means once you’ve confirmed their order, when the tracking number is allocated, key delivery milestones and when it arrives.
Some retailers prefer to use SMS notifications for ship from store orders given the shorter delivery time frames. For example, you could trigger an SMS notification whenever a label gets printed to ensure the notification reaches the customer as soon as possible.
Ship from store with Starshipit
Starshipit serves as the smart, automated link between your online store and physical stores, other integrated solutions and your carriers.
Customers place their orders online through your eCommerce platform, at which point (depending on your set up), these orders get allocated to one of your retail stores.
How orders get allocated depends on what system you’re using, as sometimes allocation can happen at the checkout before an order is placed (So you can display same day delivery options, for example).
Then once the order is placed, the fulfilment location is communicated to starshipit and routed to the correct child account - how this is done differs depending on set up.
In store, staff simply need to access the user-friendly Starshipit dashboard on a computer, where they can print multiple orders (even using different couriers) with a few clicks. Then, Starshipit passes the relevant information across to your couriers and updates the source system with tracking data and order status.
From a warehouse or head office perspective you can use the search from your master account, enter an order number, and see which store has been assigned to fulfil it.
This makes it easy for your centralised customer service teams to answer incoming customer queries, such as “wheres my order”. Starshipit can assign orders to store accounts using rules (based on post code, for example).
Child accounts are attached to your parent Starshipit account. Your child account generally has different settings from your parent Starshipit account e.g. different couriers, integrations, pickup address and more.
There are different types of child accounts:
Multi-location: Use this when you are shipping from two or more physical locations. For multi-location child accounts, customer notifications, branding and integrations are inherited from your parent account.
Full access: Use a full access child account if you want different notification settings for each store
Note: You can adjust carrier accounts, print settings and sender addresses for each child account.
Learn more – Case studies
Toyworld is Australia’s largest specialist toy retailer with 125 stores across the country. On a mission to optimise fulfilment, Toyworld implemented Find in Store in 2020, click & collect in 2021 and lastly ship from store/store fulfilment. Toyworld used Starshipit and stockinstore to complete this omnichannel transformation.
Since implementing Starshipit and stockinstore, Toyworld has achieved:
118% increase in online conversion rates.
198% increase in click & collect sales in 2022 vs 2021.
Read the full case on the Starshipit blog:
Aussie fashion giant Lorna Jane are leaders when it comes to meeting customer expectations. With delivery speed and stock turnover in mind they found great success with ship from store by “igniting the stock pool” and linking up all stores under one eCommerce platform. Lorna Jane has simplified the process of shipping orders to customers.
Read the full case on the Starshipit blog:
Book a free ship from store consultation with Starshipit
In this call, we'll cover how you can set up ship from store with Starshipit as well as your existing tech stack. We'll also work with you based on your own goals and requirements.