‘Tis the season for in-aisle displays, holiday packaging and Can Can sales. As we inch closer to the chaos of the shopping season that occurs between Black Friday and Christmas, it’s essential that products are easily available to consumers. While new holiday themed SKUs are great for catching the eyes of consumers, they can also cause issues throughout the supply chain before they reach the stores. One way to ensure that your products are available in time for the holiday shopping season is by utilizing Direct Store Delivery. Direct Store Delivery, or DSD, is a method of transportation that bypasses the traditional retailer distribution center and brings products directly to the individual retail stores. While DSD is an extremely useful transportation method, like any mode of transportation there are positives and negatives:

The Positives:

Timing – To ensure that all those fancy displays are built in a timely manner during peak season, your value-added services department will likely be functioning on a tight timeline. Every minute counts during the holiday shopping season and having a Direct Store Delivery transportation solution allows you to bypass distribution centers and get your products into stores quicker, even if the products take longer to leave your warehouse. For products with short shelf-life, DSD is essential because it cuts back on the time they spend in distribution. Retailers will also appreciate you utilizing DSD because it frees up space and labor during their distribution centers’ busiest season and ensures that products reach stores in time for consumers to purchase them. Retailers need your products in stores because if your product is not available, your loyal customers may visit a competitor’s store instead.

Control – When compared to your retailer picking up from your warehouse or your carriers shipping to your retailer’s distribution center, DSD will grant you greater control in your supply chain. You decide when your product leaves your warehouse and which carriers to use. You can control how quickly new items reach market and you’ll have more visibility into the status of your shipments.

Volume – In order to justify DSD and get buy in from your retailer partners, there will have to be enough volume to make it worth their while.  If the volume associated with a promotion is being talked about in truckload or pallet quantities and will be shipped to the majority of their retail locations, then this is well worth exploring.  By moving this type of volume away from a traditional distribution model, your retailer partners will most likely be super appreciative, especially during their busiest time of year.

The Negatives:

Complexity – While Direct Store Delivery has many advantages when compared to the traditional retail delivery methods, there are some complexities that require more planning on the front-end. Since retail stores vary greatly in location and accommodations, your transportation team will need to know each store’s requirements and work with these stores on a delivery plan. The store may require deliveries to be scheduled in advance or may have limited receiving hours. Your carrier may require a box truck to navigate small parking lots or a truck with a lift-gate to allow for unloading when dock doors aren’t available.

Volume – While this may sound great to you and allow you to shave some money off your total distribution cost, it may not work for your retail partner.  If the volume associated with a promotion is being talked about in case quantities and will be shipped to only a few of their retail locations, then this doesn’t provide the win-win scenario for you and your retail partner. By moving small volume away from a traditional distribution model, you’ll be asking your retail partners to take on more complexity that won’t be worth their while.

At Continental Logistics we have an extensive network of carriers to deliver any shipment. We have experience delivering direct to store throughout the year and for seasonal events, such as the Shoprite can-can sale. While Direct Store Delivery can allow for better timing and more control, it also creates complexities and requires planning on the front-end. If you’re considering diving into direct store delivery, contact us today to develop a strategy.