Yes, the fulfillment wars had already been heating up, but the retail landscape was still a far cry from where it found itself just a few short weeks later.
But as the need for the service quickly ramped up for Office Depot, deemed an essential retailer, expanding same-day delivery services enabled it to strengthen a range of fulfillment capabilities, including buy-online-pickup-in-store, curbside pickup, ship from store and next-business-day delivery, Jamie Columbus, VP of e-commerce for Office Depot, tells RIS News.
“The pandemic accelerated the need for small businesses to streamline productivity and improve efficiencies to stay agile. Our customers want convenient and flexible delivery options to get the supplies they need, when they need them, to keep their business going,” Columbus says, noting that the service enables their customers to remain focused on running their own businesses.
In researching the right partner, Office Depot not only wanted to improve its last-mile capabilities, but it also sought expanded third-party vendor capabilities that leveraged its local inventory and national retail footprint as assets and part of its supply chain.
And the company was not alone in this desire. “Partnering with tech-driven delivery services” was cited as a top tier of interest for retailers, according to RIS’ Supply Chain Technology Study.
Ultimately, Shipt’s growing network of personal shoppers that were aligned with the No. 37 retailer’s store footprint made it the most attractive partner, says Columbus, along with the carrier’s reputation.
The retailer now offerssame-day delivery from nearly every Office Depot or OfficeMax store across the country, structured in eight one-hour dynamic windows throughout the day, as well as delivery windows for the following day.
“We are receiving positive customer feedback and seeing strong NPS results on same-day delivery, indicating that our customers are pleased with the latest and fastest way to shop Office Depot,” says Columbus.
The service is also enabling increased associate productivity, providing associates with more time to assist in-store customers seeking personalized experiences.
The system, which enables batch picking of multiple orders at once, is designed so it can be scaled down to a small backroom micro-fulfillment center or scaled up for use in a dark store or even mass distribution center.