Winner of the Good Retail Awards’ Bricks ‘n’ Clicks category, Salamander Cookshop, has created a successful omnichannel fulfilment model. David, owner of Salamander Cookshop spoke to Modern Retail about their approach to combining instore and delivery, making fulfilment work for the customer.
Salamander Cookshop has excelled in designing a complete shopping experience that impresses customers. David explained: “We use the shop like the tip of the iceberg. The big advantage of local retail is that you can touch, feel and see the products, speaking to an expert instore. We make sure we have a good range in stock for customers to view. Then you have access to the rest of the iceberg, which is the other colours, variants and models. Once you know which product you want, you can have it delivered to your home the next day, or choose to click and collect. It’s the sweet spot because we show a variety instore and then have the full range and access to the distributor’s warehouse, seeing if they’re in stock and ordering them for delivery. Convenience, options, speed and competitive pricing are part of every decision we make, keeping customer experience at the forefront of everything we do.”
Offering different delivery options
David spoke about the importance of offering suitable delivery options for customers. He said: “The speed and range of delivery companies available with guaranteed times of delivery and next-day options has made it easy to offer choice. Dropship to home is mainly used by those who don’t live nearby, or if it’s a big product. By being able to give customers the option to have large deliveries arrive at their house the next day, this is something that can help to facilitate a wide range of customers’ requirements.”
Working with suppliers
David explained the importance of working closely with suppliers. He said: “You need to understand the needs of customers and then speak with suppliers to make this possible. It’s a case of working together to find ways to make fulfilment work. We worked with Le Creuset to have a guaranteed stock level instore, which is mutually beneficial, as we know we have products to show customers and there is a significant range of their products for shoppers to choose from. I also show the catalogue to customers so they can see different options that aren’t instore for them to see. It is possible to find a way to work with suppliers, particularly if they know you buy a lot from them and they can support you somewhat in that. Having these relationships with suppliers makes it possible to find solutions for customers. If you say yes to a customer, they’ll come back. If you say no regularly, they’ll go to a different retailer and find loyalty elsewhere. There’s a mutual interest in making it work, selling great products and keeping customers happy.”
Real-time stock availability
Having real-time stock availability makes it possible to deliver a seamless omnichannel process. David explained how Salamander Cookshop utilises stock availability: “This can be somewhat reliant on the supplier and what they’ve invested in. When you have access to the warehouse, committed stock and available stock visibility, this is so important. It enables you to offer customers access to the full range of products without needing to have a large stock holding. People are bound to want the colour you don’t have in stock, so being able to look this up is vital. You need to have the technology in place at the till, for staff to be able to quickly access stock availability and tell customers the options that they have available, as well as the delivery options and timescales for delivery.”
Competing with Amazon Prime
While competing with the likes of Amazon Prime may be a challenging task, this is something that Salamander Cookshop is aiming to achieve. David added: “If someone comes in and asks for a specific kitchen gadget, I want to be able to compete with Amazon Prime. If you have access to the warehouse of a big supplier with an extensive catalogue, you are able to compete. We’ve tried to be quicker and more responsive, always trying to find a solution for customers, even if it’s something we don’t have in our shop. People often assume that you might be more expensive because you’re a small independent retailer, but that isn’t typically the case.My desire would be that we are able to be as responsive as Amazon Prime, as well as being able to offer expertise and an unparalleled customer experience.”
Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing. As Modern Retail’s Content Editor, Holly is passionate about helping independent retailers to thrive in today’s ever-changing market.