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A Guide to Dark Stores & Why Retailers Should Know About Them

Rashmi Sharma

Specialist Content Marketing @ Shiprocket

January 20, 2022

3 min read

Online shopping is booming, and it has reached nearly $100 billion in 2021. Many retailers are now trying to meet the demand of customers for same-day delivery. This is possible by expanding their capabilities for managing their online orders, warehousing, and distribution processes. The main challenge is to provide a great experience to each of your customers. The answer to this problem lies in ‘Dark Stores’.

Dark Stores

What is a Dark Store?

A Dark Store is a micro-fulfillment center dedicated to rapid online order fulfillment. It is a kind of small, local store but without the customers. It has has aisles with shelves and racks for groceries. When a customer makes an order comes, dark store staff picks and packs the items immediately available in the stock. Then they ship the order directly to the customer’s address or to a convenient collection point specified by the customer.

5 Main Benefits of the Dark Store For Retailers

Dark Stores

There are many benefits of Dark Stores, some of which we’ve listed below:

Quick Shopping

Dark Stores offers the convenience of online shopping with the benefit of instant delivery of your products. It also helps maintain the safety and social distancing measures during the pandemic. This is why dark stores have created a space for quick and contact-free shopping. Dark Stores allow consumers to purchase from a brick-and-mortar without even entering it.

Fast Delivery

The dark store is the best way to provide faster order fulfillments and deliver more efficiently by including a variety of distribution options. It helps bring the products closer to a specific part of the market.

Better SKU Management

The main benefit of the Dark Store concept is that it can improve SKU management by focusing on capabilities such as storage and click-and-collect. It is good for a grocery store to have as many SKUs as there are customers.

Range of Products

The dark store layout can be planned for more storage and better picking capabilities. Improved storage capacity means better product management, more room for an extensive range of products, and faster order fulfillment.

Inventory Control

Dark Store also supports the concept of inventory control in the same geographic region. As these dark stores are kind of warehouses that are customer-free, better inventory control can be managed for larger order volumes.

Relevance of Dark Stores After the Pandemic

Dark Stores for retailers

Converting a brick-mortar store into a dark store has been a great way to optimize the supply chain, and improve customer experience. Many retail companies have benefited from the Dark Stores during the pandemic situation. And it is likely that the concept of Dark Stores is not only here to stay but will continue to evolve in the coming years.

The pandemic has not only accelerated the shift in consumer behavior but has already pushed a shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping. The concept of Dark Store has changed the way grocery retail brands operate in the market space. Dark Stores will be the best way for improved storage and distribution of products for many brands.

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