A dark store is an order fulfillment center focusing on a faster shipment process with optimized logistics function & enhanced customer gratification.
Home > Insight> The Inception of Dark Store – Benefits, Relevance & Challenges
2020 was a year full of change. While we as global citizens tackled our way from covid19 (and still are), industries, as we know, shapeshifted their model to survive an unprecedented economic challenge ever known to humankind. And brick & mortar stores, commonly known as retailer shops, found themselves staring down at potential shutdown scenarios owing to the restriction imposed due to pandemic curbs, leading to a minimum to negligible footfall.
This eventually gave momentum to a new customer shopping dimension through Dark stores. As customers avoided crowded places to prevent social contact during the restrictions, dark stores became a masqueraded boon for the entire retailer shopping experience, be it offline engagement or web-based order fulfillment.
In the write-up, we will cover why exactly dark stores came into existence, why they are a bright idea for the retail sector, and, more importantly, their relevance in today’s e-commerce-driven economy.
Also referred to as a dark shop, dark supermarket & dotcom center, a dark store at the start became a post-pandemic strategy for large-footed retail shops to eliminate their housed inventory. With retailers embracing web-based markets to counter economic blues, these stores slowly gained traction, with customers finding it easy to get their ordered goods through self-pickup options or delivery services.
Eventually, these dark supermarkets also started operating as fulfillment centers for online orders. With ‘click & collect’ becoming the norm & most preferred way of shopping for customers, the retail supply chain found a new lease of life with dark stores, ably managing complex logistics while seeing through the delivery objectives of every stakeholder involved.
A dark store’s inception, like any other efficiently effective decision made in a sector, was done to keep the cost of operation in check, a situation more prominent owing to severe cash flow obstruction during the pandemic. To ensure that its logistical expenses are kept in check, dark stores got their establishment on the city’s outskirts, in sub-urban areas at a strategic location, making it easy for users to pick up their orders if they opt for it.
With automated tech & data analytics forming the backbone for its day-to-day operations, dark stores have pickers stationed at aisles who align products & make them ready for shipment. Stores with slightly advanced infrastructure costs have logistics robots to assemble & prepare orders, sometimes also fulfilling same-day delivery commitments. Here are the three most common shipping methods a dark store provides that boost supply chain operation.
While dark warehouse existence was purely driven by a survival instinct of the retail sector facing a crisis in attracting numbers during the covid crisis, little did any supply expert knew that it just might be the blueprint for facelifting the entire e-commerce operation, which might happen to empower same-day delivery concept as well.
While dark warehouses breathed life into a struggling retail sector when it needed the most, in due time, operators found a few catches along the way in the application of a dark store model.
3SC shapes up your fulfillment process by enabling your organization with end-to-end logistics operation. From order picking & processing to packaging and shipping, even last-mile delivery – 3SC, with its data-analytical insights & tech prowess driven by advanced artificial intelligence & machine learning, aid organization with improved delivery timelines & better customer retention scale with its marquee dark store strategy. So, if you're looking for a dark store with state-of-the-art execution & planning, connect with us now.