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Three ways stores can assist online selling

The retail sector is constantly changing. Over the years we have seen a shift away from offline to online shopping. Technological developments ensured that products around the world became increasingly accessible to consumers. Many brick-and-mortar retailers continued to conduct the same business after the advent of the internet, while online retailers continued to develop rapidly. As a result, brick-and-mortar stores were confronted with declining demand and sales, while the demand for online retail increased and online revenues continued to soar. The COVID-19 crisis has changed consumer behaviour even more rapidly and drastically accelerated the shift from offline to online, and early indications suggest that much of this shift may endure in the long term.

The fact that online is becoming increasingly important does not alter the fact that brick-and-mortar stores still play an important role in retail. However, this role is evolving. In today’s digital retail landscape, the lines between online and offline retail are becoming more blurred with each passing day. Many traditional retailers are opening online stores, while online retailers have begun to invest in physical locations as well. Retailers don`t have to choose between in-store selling or online selling. Today, both offline and online presence are part of a successful retail strategy. The smartest and most successful retailers have developed omnichannel strategies that blend in-store and online selling.

Today`s modern consumers value different things in the store, and we are seeing their behaviours change toward what they value. They attach great value to efficiency and flexibility and they have become accustomed to instant gratification, whatever channel they make their purchases on. The store is therefore no longer just a location to sell products in-store, but can also be used to encourage and assist online purchases. We distinguish three ways in which the brick-and-mortar store can assist online selling:

Qr code selling

First, the brick-and-mortar store can be used as a location where consumers can scan a QR code and then purchase an item online. The use of QR codes is a popular technology development and a marketing tool that is increasingly used in retail. QR code technology is mainly used to attract potential consumers to the online store. In addition, the code makes purchasing easier for consumers and the technology can be used to personalise the shopping experience of the consumer. QR codes can often be found in shop windows at retail locations, but they can also be placed in the store or on products. The use of QR codes gives retailers a major competitive advantage in the market.


BOPIS, Buy online and Pick Up In Store, is one of the most widely used formulas within the omnichannel strategy. Also known as Click & Collect. With this strategy, the brick-and-mortar store is not only used as a place to buy items, but also as a location where consumers can pick up their online orders. The advantage of this is that in some cases consumers receive the product faster than when they have it delivered and that it saves possible shipping costs. However, with BOPIS, consumers are bound by the opening hours of the store. A solution to this is BOPIL, Buy online and Pick Up In Locker. This works the same as BOPIS, but with BOPIL consumers can collect online orders from a parcel locker. The use of parcel lockers for package pickups has been steadily increasing in recent years, particularly in urban locations. The advantage of this is that consumers can pick up their order at any time, whenever it suits them.


A third way the brick-and-mortar store can assist online selling is through ship-from-store. Ship-from-store is a fulfilment process where retailers use stock from their brick-and-mortar store estate to fulfil (online) orders. Instead of using centralised distribution centres, the physical store is used as a small distribution centre, to support the digital platform. Fulfilling orders this way turns the store into a virtual hub and ensures that orders are sent smoothly and quickly to the consumer. It combines the forces of the online and offline channel, and offers retailers the opportunity to use their stores efficiently and to increase both offline and online sales. Retailers who applied a ship-from-store fulfilment strategy saw many positive results, such as higher sales, faster deliveries, optimised inventory forecasting, higher margins and lower costs.

We from StoreShippers offer brick-and-mortar retailers the opportunity to implement a ship-from-store strategy on short notice. With one IT integration we provide access to local couriers in all major cities in nine European countries and the USA, reaching +83 million customers in +300 cities. It is our mission to build a global sustainable ship-from-store network to connect global online visibility with local offline presence, and to allow online and offline to reinforce each other. Interested in our ship-from-store services? Get in touch!