Backing up BODFS with crowdsourced delivery lets retailers keep orders flowing on demand.

Many retailers worry about their future — especially when it comes to competing on same-day delivery with e-commerce giants and even each other. Rather than looking over their shoulders, however, retailers can benefit from focusing on their own stores. Thinking about those stores as strategically located forward-distribution centers can deliver a big advantage. 

A retailer’s brick-and-mortar footprint is one of its greatest assets in the race to win the final mile. That’s because the key to faster fulfillment is getting inventory as close to customers as possible. Often, that means adopting a buy online deliver from store (BODFS) model

Placing inventory throughout the store network is only the first step to successfully implementing same-day delivery. To ensure products can be delivered to customers the day they are ordered, retailers need a robust, flexible and versatile fleet. Of course, many retailers don’t have this, or they spend a lot of money keeping their fleet up and running. Even when retailers have their own delivery vehicles, they may not always be right for the orders that need to be moved.

Meanwhile, retailers keep getting dinged as traditional parcel and trucking partners raise rates and limit the number of orders that can be shipped through them.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that BODFS combined with Roadie’s unmatched crowdsourced delivery platform helps retailers of any size quickly stand up same-day delivery. Why leave orders on the table if you don’t have to?

Preparing for same-day delivery from the store

Know your last-mile network.

Using the store as a fulfillment center with the goal of providing same-day delivery demands a partner with local resources that can deliver fast. Crowdsourcing makes that possible. While many ultrafast delivery options are limited to dense, urban areas, Roadie reaches where they don’t: Suburbs. Exurbs. Even rural areas. That’s true for oversized or bulky items, too, which are difficult and expensive to ship same-day with traditional partners. Roadie offers a 70-mile delivery radius from the store — about seven times the size of a typical courier’s distribution area.

Get equipped for e-commerce.

Delivering from retail stores requires rethinking the way they operate. Retailers making this switch should train store personnel in how to handle BODFS-related inventory operations. Who will pick a BODFS item? Where will they prepare and stage it for pickup? Who will do the hand-off with the delivery driver? Answering these questions early helps make a smooth transition to BODFS. 

Bringing on a crowdsourced delivery partner like Roadie also requires collaboration on the back end. Many retailers choose to integrate fully with Roadie’s API from the start. In those cases, the retailer’s delivery data goes straight to Roadie, and our platform tells drivers where and when to arrive for pickup, and where and when the order should be dropped off with the customer. It’s that simple. 

Understand crowdsourcing.

Knowing what crowdsourced delivery looks like also can manage expectations at the store level. This helps avoid awkward situations involving store access or delays in product pickup. Crowdsourced delivery drivers won’t show up in a uniform. And they’re more likely to drive their own vehicle than a delivery truck. 

To make sure these differences don’t interfere with pickup, retailers should have clear signage and instructions to guide crowdsourced delivery drivers to the proper location to pick up their orders. Ideally, that location will enable easy loading into sedans and pickup trucks. Retailers should also make store-level employees aware that crowdsourced drivers will pick up orders at the store and train them in the processes for those drivers.

Lean on your partner.

Bringing crowdsourcing into an omnichannel fulfillment strategy is critical to giving customers same-day delivery. But adding another partner and delivery mode can be a challenge. Roadie’s partnership goes beyond just a platform with 24/7 support to ensure order fulfillment runs smoothly. Additionally, our team can share best practices for integrating crowdsourcing and BODFS with store operations. 

Start small, but with big goals.

Launching crowdsourced delivery in a few markets before scaling to the entire customer base is how Roadie recommends its customers start. This lets retailers work out any issues with their store-based fulfillment and come up with a model that can be mostly replicated across markets. Some customers even use the initial launch to test how changes in their offerings, like price, affect demand. 

Get ready to flex.

A major advantage of crowdsourced delivery is being able to add fulfillment horsepower as needed. Retailers don’t have to turn off deliveries or fail to make them on time because they lack capacity. When an important last-minute order comes in, a bulky item needs to be shipped, or a sale has orders piling up, fulfillment teams can tap into a large network of independent drivers who are ready to deliver. With crowdsourcing, retailers have an option for efficient next-day delivery and high-priority same-day delivery, all within the same network. 

Get ahead with BODFS and crowdsourced delivery

Delivery from store is an important step for retailers whose goal is to offer customers better options for how and when to receive orders. But BODFS alone still leaves retailers vulnerable to the unpredictability of the last mile. With crowdsourcing, your business can use BODFS to respond to customer demand in real-time, supporting fast fulfillment across your network, no matter what the product is or where the customer lives.

Many retailers worry about what’s in store for their future. Instead, they can look to Roadie and crowdsourcing to help deliver what’s in store when customer orders come in. 

Ready to learn more? Check out our case study about how Roadie helps Tractor Supply Company offer on-demand delivery across its entire store network.

Tractor Supply Company Delivers Same-Day from 100% of Stores