Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

A multi-channel route to suit you

Of the top 130 UK fashion and footwear retailers, 55% now have transactional websites, and are faced with the challenge of multi-channel fulfilment. The majority of these retailers use separate physical operations and processes to fulfil non-store orders.

A recent study by retail consultancy CVL has revealed that running separate fulfilment centres (FCs) can cost twice as much per order as fulfilling from integrated distribution centres (DCs) and erode up to 6% of net margin. In the current challenging economic climate, this can make the difference between profit and loss for retailers.

Separate fulfilment centres result in duplicated product handling, storage and fixed costs and generate additional and more complex processes. This leads to slower customer response times and increased risks of stock-outs or unsold stock at the end of a season.
The implication for retailers is that there is a big margin prize to be had by moving to integrated fulfilment through distribution centres that hold inventory, pick and dispatch product for both stores and online customers.

However, achieving integrated fulfilment is challenging, even for sophisticated retailers. The barriers to overcome are the physical infrastructure and processes, inventory management and organisation, plus IT systems.

Retailers must understand their true fulfilment costs, which vary across channels and fulfilment solutions. A thorough analysis will guide retailers’ multi-channel strategies.

The report by CVL describes the challenges to achieve integrated fulfilment and ways to overcome them. It is available from

Ray Fowler is a director of CVL, a business and technology consultancy

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.