Scaling Ecommerce: Retailers Invest in New Distribution Centers For Online Orders

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Market research firm eMarketer projects ecommerce sales in North America will increase from $431 billion in 2013 to more than $660 billion in 2017. That increase in online sales paired with growing consumer expectations around shipping times is prompting retailers to build sophisticated distribution centers dedicated to fulfilling online orders.

Here’s a list of retailers and distribution partners that are building or renovating facilities dedicated to fulfilling orders from online shoppers. Have an announcement we’ve missed? Leave a note in the comments or email hc@stellaservice.com.

American Eagle

  • Type: New facility
  • Location: Hazelton, Pa.
  • Size: 600,000+ square feet
  • Budget: $80 Million
  • Hiring: 369 new positions, with an additional 600 part-time positions during peak seasons.
  • Notes: Expected to open in June 2014, the Hazelton facility will double the apparel retailer’s current distribution center (300,000 square feet) in Warrenton, Pa., which the retailer plans to …

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Macy’s Expands Store-based Fulfillment

[Macy's] will be able to fulfill direct-to-consumer orders from more than 500 of its stores and is working with 50% of its suppliers to stock RFID-tagged goods for improved inventory counts. Macy’s is also making major investments in associate training to enhance service levels offered to informed, technology-wielding consumers. [Source: Retail Info Systems News]

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More Retailers Shipping Online Orders from Stores

“Retailers such as Toys “R” Us, Macy’s Inc., and Nordstrom Inc. have all begun to fulfill and ship some online orders from select stores in the past three years or so, and more are expected to hop on the band wagon. While retailers three years ago were talking about how better to link their store and online inventory, ship-from-store is no longer just about getting that extra sale made in case an item is out of stock in an online distribution center. It’s just as much about getting products to customers faster to please them, making store employees more productive and lowering shipping costs, said GSI President Christopher Saridakis.” [Source: MarketWatch]

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Holidays Bring Joyful and Frustrating Customer Service for Online Shoppers (Part 2 – Email Support)

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Note: this is the second in a three part series looking at the customer service performance of the top 25 online retailers during the 2011 Black Friday through Cyber Monday weekend. View Part 1 (Phone Support) and Part 3 (Live Chat Support) for a complete view on how the largest online retailers cared for customers during the big shopping holiday.

According to Forrester, 55% of online shoppers use email when attempting to solve a customer service problem.  Most consumers expect relatively quick responses to email inquiries. In fact, if you’re shopping online and have a question, what’s the point of sending an email if the company doesn’t get back to you for days? The product, special deal or issue in question may no longer be relevant by the time you get a reply.

To give shoppers a better idea of which stores plan to keep you in the loop and which stores are likely to dismiss your message into the email abyss as you do your online holiday shopping, STELLAService …

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Back to school? Shop at Costco.com

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It’s that time of year again when millions of people, young and old, are racing to prepare for the first day back to school. For many, this is an exciting time, when personal aspirations meet opportunity and anything seems possible.

However, we know that this is also an anxious and nerve-racking time, when the “to-do” list seems to command all the attention. At STELLAService, we understand that students (and parents, of course) have enough to worry about, so we wanted to help by evaluating the Internet’s biggest one-stop shops for hassle-free back-to-school shopping.

We evaluated 15 of the Internet’s leading online retailers, including Amazon, Costco, Walmart, Buy.com, and Overstock.com. We measured the retailers according to six best practices exemplifying both speed and convenience during the back-to-school crunch, including shipping, returns, and payment options.

We’re excited to share these results below:

Costco.com offers the most hassle-free …

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