For merchants with deep pockets and large footprints, relying heavily on stores to fulfill online orders often makes sense. That’s the case at Dick’s Sporting Goods, No. 29 in the 2021 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000.
“At Dick’s Sporting Goods, we truly see our stores and ecommerce and digital offerings working together as one, with stores driving sales online and vice versa,” says Scott Casciato, vice president, omnifulfillment and athlete engagement at the retailer.
In Q4 2020, during the holiday shopping season, ecommerce sales grew 57% year over year, representing nearly one-third of Dick’s total business, he says. And the retailer, which began shipping online orders from stores in 2013, says its 800 stores fulfilled more than 70% of web orders in Q4, either through ship from store, in-store pickup or curbside.
Casciato says Dick’s uses a host of applications and has spent “considerable time either selecting software partners or building internal applications that fill very specific needs” in the omnichannel fulfillment space, without being more specific. “We evaluate a number of factors associated with inventory availability, proximity to the customer and order composition before deciding where to source an order from,” he says. “This is a very complex decision process.”
For example, Dick’s omnichannel software enables it to quickly locate a store or fulfillment center that has all items in an order in stock and available to ship in one box, saving Dick’s on any extra fees it would incur from having to ship an order in multiple boxes from multiple fulfillment points. Casciato adds that Dick’s omnichannel technology tracks and updates both web and store inventory based on both store transactions as well as web transactions that route through the stores. “
These run in near real time at a store and SKU level to keep calibration between on-hand inventory and available-to-sell [inventory],” he says. “Our web available-to-sell inventory is synchronized regularly with store inventory.”
Using stores to fulfill online orders has increased shipping speed and efficiency at Dick’s, Casciato says, as its stores are often physically closer to a customer than a large distribution center. That means a shopper can order a product online and that same day either pick it up curbside t a few miles from her home or get it delivered from a nearby store.
“Customers expect speed—our products typically ship in under a day after a customer completes a purchase,” Casciato says.
Shipping from a store close to the shopper also saves on shipping costs, he says, without being more specific.
Dick’s had already implemented omnichannel fulfillment technology, which helped it during the pandemic, too, Casciato says. “It was because of our strong tech foundation that we were able to quickly pivot to curbside when the pandemic began, using the platform we had previously built for buy online pick up in store. We launched our curbside contactless pickup in less than 48 hours,” he says.