City Furniture, which has a chain of retail stores in South Florida, was ahead of the curve on same-day delivery - especially for an industry known for long customer wait times. City began offering same-day and next-day delivery across its network a dozen years ago and has aggressively advertised the service, building it into a key competitive advantage, says Andrew Koenig, vice president of operations.
Customers who place an order at any of City's 26 showrooms by 2:00 p.m. on weekdays or 3:00 p.m. on weekends can opt for same-day delivery within a 120-mile radius at no additional charge, Koenig explains. From 40 percent to 50 percent of customers choose the same-day option, he says.
"It is a 'wow' factor for the customer," says Koenig. "They love it."
Each day when the cut-off time is reached, same-day delivery orders are batched and sent to the routing system, Koenig says. After routing is optimized, orders move on to the warehouse management system. "in the warehouse, we will have anywhere from 20 to 30 guys, who have about an hour to pull and stage up to 200 orders." These orders are then loaded onto company-owned trucks. Drivers leave the dock by 4:15 on weekdays and 4:45 on weekends and continue working until all orders are delivered, which can be as late as midnight.
"Sometimes our trucks beat the customer home," says Koenig. The biggest challenge with this service has been on the customer side, he adds. "Things change in people's lives and sometimes they can't get home to accept delivery. It's frustrating to have to haul it back and do it all over again."
Providing this service means carrying a lot of inventory, says Koenig. "We have a great purchasing team and we work really hard to maintain a high in-stock percentage." The company operates a million-square-foot DC.
With more big-box retailers getting into furniture sales and new online competitors gaining traction, the trend for very fast delivery will continue to grow, says Koenig. "I am so thankful we chose to go down this path 12 years ago because it is no longer a big deal for us," he says. "The whole world is shifting to this mindset and we already are there. I feel good about that."
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