Lowes Foods Case Study: In-Store Fulfillment – Challenge or Opportunity?

In case you missed it, HighJump’s director of product strategy, Chuck Fuerst, along with Klaus Werner, Lowes Foods head of e-commerce, were on hand at the recent Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference. They discussed omni-channel demands and how the need to optimize retail fulfillment processes has changed the way retailers and grocers do business. Here’s a quick recap of what they shared with the over 75 executives who joined their presentation.

The session began with Chuck discussing how, challenged with e-commerce purchasing volumes, retailers are looking to effectively manage the picking of e-commerce orders to provide the “buy anywhere, fulfill anywhere, return anywhere” experience customers expect. Today, most retailers have not operationalized even the basics of store pickup, cross-channel inventory visibility, and store based fulfillment. Current store supply chain models are not suited to an omni-channel world.

Chuck also addressed a few challenges retailers and grocers are facing with the fulfill-from-store model:

  • Integrating back-office technology across channels
  • Managing inventory and fulfillment across various channels
  • Optimizing workflow to pick, pack, and ship in stores
  • Gaining real-time inventory visibility across stores and distribution centers

Although retailers have more limited warehouse infrastructure for their online businesses, they have a big advantage in store locations. They need to erode the notion of channel and add direct order fulfillment and stocking in the back office. Now is the time to invest in the right technologies to satisfy the demands of the increasingly omni-channel consumer.

During the session, Klaus from Lowes Foods shared why they chose to go with HighJump Retail Advantage.

Lowes Foods, founded in 1954, operates 97 full-service supermarkets in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. With 60 stores operating Lowes Foods-To-Go service and an aggressive sales growth projected during the next five years, Klaus and team were looking for ways to invest in innovation that would help them stay competitive and increase sales.  They knew customers were looking for quick, simple and effective ways to get products and services in a timely manner.

HighJump Retail Advantage was selected to help enable a key part of Lowes Foods go-forward strategy: “differentiate through surprise and delight”. HighJump provided:

  • Better interface and order visibility for shoppers
  • Scalability as order volume grows
  • Ability to pick more than one order at once
  • Flexibility to divide picking of simple and complex items

There are many moving parts to successfully redeploying stores as distribution nodes in an omni-channel supply chain. Some are at the macro level (i.e.: outside of the store), but most require thoughtful implementation of process, technology and organizational change within the four walls to the store itself.

Thanks Klaus for sharing the Lowes Foods story!

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