Why omnichannel distribution is the key to success in retail

05 July 2023
Jenny Molloy

Whilst ordering goods may be getting easier, receiving them is another story for some retailers, which is why knowing what your customers want from their delivery service is key and also why omnichannel distribution could be the answer.

When it comes to success in retail, the key is to provide options, not only in your offering but also in how consumers receive their goods. With a world focused on fast, fuss-free results in every aspect of life, shopping is no different which is why ecommerce, especially via mobile, has never been more popular.

What is omnichannel shipping?

Omnichannel shipping is providing customers with a choice of how they receive their goods at the checkout process. Choosing from a list of options is similar to choosing their size;  it gives flexibility, provides convenience and opens opportunities for more sales.

So what does omnichannel shipping offer?

Home delivery – the obvious and the most popular choice for many online buyers is home delivery. There is the convenience of having your items delivered to a home or workplace, however, the risks of missing deliveries and porch piracy are ever-growing as ecommerce becomes the chosen way to shop.

Pickup Points – growing in popularity in Europe and US, pickup points offer discreet delivery and security that home delivery doesn’t. With higher first-time delivery rates than home delivery, those who choose pickup points experience a smoother buying cycle than more traditional shipping methods.

Collect from store – collect from store soared during the pandemic with people erring on the side of caution and opting to order online and pick up, rather than risk heading into the busy shopping centres or grocery stores. Whilst this is still popular for many retailers, especially home depots and furniture stores, opening times can restrict when collections can occur.

Locker collections – similar to pickup points, lockers are commonly recognised more than ever. Offering the same convenience for shoppers as pickup points, not all retailers have the luxury of affording their own space and locker infrastructure to provide for their clients.

Why various delivery methods are the key to success

When we shop, we have our go-to stores depending on what we’re looking for. We may prefer one grocery store over another due to freshness or locations, we have the brands we go for certain pairs of jeans or sneakers due to familiarity or sizes, and we may choose certain places for our electronics due to great deals and extended warranties.

However, as soon as that buying cycle becomes fractious or a shopper loses trust in their ability to have their needs met, there is a growing number who have no issue moving on to a competitor that offers what their current provider doesn’t.

Despite humans being creatures of habit, customer retention is becoming an ever-growing problem in retail due to the evolution of products, price and of course, delivery options.

Giving Shoppers What They Want

Retailers rarely give one option when it comes to their products. For example, clothing brands offer a number of colors, TV manufacturers offer different screen sizes and alcohol suppliers provide different strength liquors.


Because not everyone is the same. Consumers want choice because they want a solution that will suit them. Retailers offer different products to widen the net and capture more customers, which is also the importance of having omnichannel shipping and why it’s crucial to success. 

For people who work 9-5, to those who travel out of town, to shoppers who live in accommodation that makes home delivery difficult, providing different delivery options is the same as offering different sized t-shirts or televisions; you’re appealing to more customers who will stay loyal to your brand.

Omnichannel shipping benefits for retailers

As well as customers staying loyal, retailers can also benefit by investing in omnichannel shipping. As well as the opportunity to attract new customers, here is why this should be on every retailer’s growth plan;

User Experience – offering omnichannel shipping shows retailers are forward thinking in their approach to their customer experience. Many ecommerce retailers have adapted to add Apple and Google payments in the past few years due to consumer demand, so investing in your online shop gives users the experience that suits them and, in turn, the retailer.

Customer Satisfaction – approximately 5% of deliveries don’t make their destination on their first attempt which creates a lot of unhappy customers. Whether it’s through the fault of the buyer, the carrier or the retailer, the customer won’t hesitate to voice their frustrations on social media, damaging the reputations of all involved. Omni channel shipping offers alternatives to those wanting to buy online but knowing they won’t be in to receive it, allowing them to choose a more convenient option and ultimately reducing the complaints from missed or failed deliveries.

Reduced Shipping Costs  – first time failed deliveries cost retailers, on average, $197,730 per year but offering a solution where pickup points are already available, reduces the risk of misspelt delivery addresses, difficult delivery locations and challenges with property types such as apartment blocks, and increases first time delivery success saving thousands of dollars a year.

Help Meet Sustainability Targets – with focuses on the environment and reducing our impact on climate change, having multiple drop-offs at specific locations may be affecting targets to reduce emissions for many retailers. Pickup points, lockers and collect in store, all support reducing the volume of deliveries by dropping off multiple packages in one location.

What’s next for ecommerce distribution?

The growth of ecommerce is not slowing down, but changes are occurring to make efficiencies, and offer clients quicker, smarter and faster delivery options, all whilst reducing the impact on the environment.

With AI being a hot topic for many industries, retail may not escape it entirely. Despite the lack of take-up of Amazon robot deliveries, there may still be a place for other forms of deliveries such as drones or more advanced robots which could offer another opportunity to meet the ever-growing demand for quick delivery.

However, whilst we wait to get there, understanding the opportunities that are available now to be ahead in retail, omnichannel shipping still poses huge opportunities to retailers and the benefits of being the brand that offers choice and convenience in-store and online, will always be the major appeal for shoppers.

How does HubBox provide the solution for your business?

HubBox provides software that makes omnichannel delivery solutions a possibility. Suitable for retailers of any size, you can offer your customers more than just the expected. Find out more at HubBox or to see the software in action by booking a demo.