How can we use our
retail stores for last
mile fulfillment?

Using existing retail footprint to satisfy last mile demand

Have you ever placed an order online and tracked your package in real-time, only to see the status as “out for delivery?” Many consumers find that frustrating, especially when our one-click checkout process has conditioned them to expect their bounty in 48 hours or less. But as we all know, there’s a lot more that goes into a parcel’s voyage through the supply chain network—even just from the last-mile fulfillment center to that final doorstep. And when you throw in the “pick up in store” option, it can be even more complicated for many retailers. 

The last-mile challenge

From the warehouse shelf to the back of a delivery truck to the customer’s destination, retailers have a new goal for last-mile logistics to meet the “Amazon effect” for consumers who crave the same fast and frictionless buying and delivery process as everyone else. 

Consumers expect free shipping and want orders delivered in two days or less. But how can retailers meet demands to help the last-mile delivery process meet consumers where they are within their stores?  

Transforming retail industrial space 

The rise of e-commerce shifted retail consumer behavior, as shoppers moved away from purchasing at traditional brick and mortal stores to buying at the click of a button. As a result, retailers had to reevaluate their footprint and distribution networks to remain competitive. Today, it’s not enough to strategically plan how inventory is presented through the aisles, you’ve also got to carve out designated areas for online pick-up orders and even ensure parking lots are equipped for curbside pick-up.  

“If you have consumers buying products online to pick up in the store, it all of the sudden changes your entire inventory management system,” says Geno Coradini, co-leader of JLL’s Retail Industrial Task Force. 

In our latest Shaping the Retail and Industrial Convergence podcast, Research Director James Cook talks with Coradini about why customer demand for convenience is here to stay, the long-term impact on the retail sector and evolving consumer shopping behaviors. Retailers looking for more real estate to expand their last-mile delivery will also hear answers to questions such as: How do I balance retail space and warehouse space? Do I have the right space to convert my retail store into a last-mile fulfillment center? Will my landlord approve these changes?  

Coradini has worked in retail real estate for companies like Advance Auto Parts, FedEx Office and Family Dollar. He has insights into how retailers are now using existing store fleets for last-mile delivery, the challenges they face, and which American retail companies are doing it best.