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Hyper-Local Fulfillment 101: Permanent Changes in Buyer Behavior

Alex Haines | 14 October 2020


It’s important to understand how changes in consumer buying behavior have created a fundamental shift to supply chain fulfilment strategy. Consumer buying behavior has changed dramatically in e-commerce, buy-online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) and in-store.

This supply chain evolution has created the need for hyper-local fulfillment, which also comes with its own challenges. Customers expect things like free or low-cost shipping, same or next day delivery, hassle-free returns and inventory to be always in stock, just to name a few.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, customer adoption of BOPIS was increasing rapidly. Since the pandemic began, demand for BOPIS and curb-side pick-up surged exponentially. These increases created the need for distribution strategies to undergo major changes.

Traditionally, product went from a distribution center (DC), straight to the store where end-users purchased. Now, we are seeing numerous brands adopting omnichannel fulfillment – DCs are replenishing stores, drop-shipping each orders for BOPIS and shipping directly to the end-users – all from the same facility.

Looking ahead, there is an expectation for retailers to bring fulfillment directly into back of store or hyper-local dark stores from which end users can pick up orders. The graphic below explains more:



The shift to “future-omni” is accelerating rapidly since the pandemic began, but there are also numerous pain-point considerations for retailers; increased shipping and labor costs, SKU proliferation, social-distancing measures and the increasing number of any kind of order. To address these, retailers are shifting to automation.

Microfulfillment automation can reduce final-mile delivery costs, increase efficiency in order picking and labor and keep pace with rapidly growing SKU profiles. Popular technologies for microfulfillment include AutoStore, OPEX Perfect Pick, Tompkins t-Sort and Exacta supply chain software.

The recorded webinar dives much deeper into these topics as well as a case study and other key considerations for microfulfillment.

Here are key timestamps:

  • Customer Buying Behavior Changes: 3:04
  • Common Pain Points: 14:56
  • Key Considerations: 23:51
  • Requirements for Successful Automation: 27:42
  • AutoStore: 28:59
  • Case Study: 35:34
  • Q&A: 39:29

Author: Alex Haines

Alex Haines is a Business Development Consultant at Bastian Solutions. Alex works with customers across various industries, looking for opportunities to help clients automate their supply chain to address both the pain points and opportunities posed by rapidly changing customer demands. Alex has 14 years of experience in global supply chain strategy, operations, and sales.


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