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How Direct Store Delivery Retains Customers and Eliminates Bottlenecks

Direct Store Delivery

As a thirty something consumer, my day usually ends with a rush to pick up baby items, a few groceries, and maybe flowers to mend a morning mishap.  One stop shopping for me is vital since my family time is really valuable to me.  So when I go into a store and they don’t have an item that I am looking for, I get frustrated. When it happens, I am tempted to leave my cart and go someplace else where I can get everything I need, especially if I know that it is in season. For me, that item is blueberries and, recently, sweet potatoes for Christmas.

Have you ever gone into a store and they are out of the item that you really came for? I don’t think I’m much different from most shoppers. Do you agree?

If you’re a retailer, I know you work hard to avoid this situation and probably put a lot of energy into inventory forecasts and designing your supply chain accordingly. However, whether your plan is highly detailed or a one size fits all approach, it’s critical to consider how unique products and transportation requirements could cause hiccups in your supply chain.

For example, apples are temperature and time sensitive and require cold chain transportation. The same thing goes for those blueberries that I was talking about before. I bet they probably ride on the same truck to the store from a distribution center (DC), right? Now what happens when your blueberry truck gets stuck in traffic? Do you have your DC to store truck wait for the blueberries to arrive, or leave without them?  Odds are they probably leave without them, causing the store to be without an item that I came for.

Seasonal pushes and items that can surge unexpectedly add yet another layer to your planning. Without a good contingency plan, surges can push your supply chain to the breaking point. Direct store delivery (DSD) programs can offer a solution to this challenge.

What is Direct Store Delivery?

DSD is widely known for solving retailer problems by quickly and cost effectively replenishing out of stock products. It can cover a wide range of scenarios:

–          A one time, high volume delivery of flowers and candy for Valentine’s Day

–          A full outsource of fresh produce

–          A short order of fresh lettuce, potatoes, and corn for the dinner rush

–          A local delivery that you would send product out of state to your warehouse and then back in-state to your stores (Food Miles)

Ultimately, a DSD program helps ensure that you have the products your customers want most—exactly when they want them.

Is DSD right for you?

Direct store deliveries are growing in popularity. Many in the beverage, dairy, and bakery industries are already employing some sort of direct store delivery program. Expect more types of industries to follow. Whether it’s just an unexpected purchasing surge on particular items or seasonal promotions that you don’t have room for in your warehouse, you need the ability to stock your shelves with the products that are in demand—right now.

With the right sourcing and logistics provider, DSD works for most merchants. Look for a provider with national coverage that works with other companies in your industry, has access to the right equipment for all of your products, and has the ability to ship product the same day you need it. Also look for a provider who has the technology to handle all of your order management needs from one source—orders, tracking, delivery, and billing. Whether you are an independent convenience store or one of the biggest chain retailers in the world, there are days that everyone can use a little help.

DSD is not limited to special events and in-season promotions. In fact, you can use it as your primary outsourcing program if you don’t have a DC or the capabilities to manage an onsite refrigerated program. In addition, many merchants use DSD as a secondary sourcing tool when they need quick delivery.

Are your goals to simplify your tasks, retain customers, increase traffic, and possibly reduce costs while doing so? The right DSD program can deliver a wide range of products right to your store and get you closer to your goals.

What are your challenges as a retailer? Please comment below with any questions on DSD or other retail solutions.

DSD

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