Distribution systems in omni-channel retailing

Details zur Publikation
Autorenliste: Hübner A., Holzapfel A., Kuhn H.
Jahr der Veröffentlichung: 2016
Quelle: Business Research
Bandnummer: 9
Heftnummer: 2
Erste Seite: 225
Letzte Seite: 296
Verlag: SpringerOpen
ISSN: 2198-3402
eISSN: 1866-8658
DOI: 10.1007/s40685-016-0034-7
Sprachen: Englisch


The growing importance of online sales means that traditional
bricks-and-mortar retailers need to create new distribution systems to
serve customers through multiple channels. Building an effective and
efficient omni-channel (OC) distribution system, however, leads to
multiple challenges. The questions arise for example, from where online
orders should be fulfilled, how delivery and return processes can be
organized, and which context-specific OC distribution systems exist.
Answering these questions retail research and practice require an
overall view of the distribution concepts for direct-to-customer and
store deliveries in OC retailing, including the associated return
processes. This overall picture is still missing in the literature. We
conducted an exploratory study to close this observable gap in the
literature. This exploratory study is based on semi-structured
interviews with major OC retailers in German-speaking countries and was
complemented by market data research and discussions with further
experts in the field of OC retailing. Based on the results of the study,
the forward distribution system in OC retailing is characterized by the
sources (supplier DCs, retailer DCs, stores) and destinations (home,
store) which describe the options for store delivery, home delivery, and
store pickup. Return processes are likewise characterized by the
sources (store, home) and destinations (store, DC, return center). This
framework forms the foundation for analyzing contextual criteria,
identifying when the different conceptual designs are applied,
determining industry-specific characteristics, and illustrating ways to
further advance OC retailing. The present paper, therefore, contributes
to the literature in three main areas: (1) it identifies and
systematizes the forward and backward concepts in OC retailing, (2) it
reveals application and development areas for achieving excellence in OC
fulfillment and logistics, and (3) shows the need for developing
sector- and context-specific OC distribution systems.