Abercrombie & Fitch Co. liked the results from its same-day delivery pilot program so much that it’s now rolling out the service to all stores across its brands in the U.S. just in time for the peak holiday shipping season.
“We ran a pilot, right around 40 stores initially. We learned from it [and] improved the service. It went really well, it was successful, and now we’re rolling it out and scaling it. That’s our model—we test, learn and scale,” Larry Grischow, Abercrombie’s executive vice president, supply chain and procurement, said.
The service is now available at more than 540 Abercrombie & Fitch, Abercrombie Kids, Hollister and Gilly Hicks locations. Customers can shop the full range of items sold at their local stores, instead of being limited to just 10 percent of what’s available. The specialty retailer has partnered with Uber, Shipt, Postmates, Roader and Delivery Solutions, a software provider, to expand fulfillment capabilities. The same-day option, while available at all store locations, is limited to zip codes within the delivery range of the third-party service providers.
According to Grischow, the range is based on the proximity to the store—usually between 10 to 20 miles—and it varies from one courier service to another. He added that the retailer will keep the same-day option even after the holiday season is over.
“The primary reason why we’re doing it is from a customer experience perspective. Our customers are telling us they want fast delivery options as part of our overall experience. So we’re planning on this being an evergreen solution. One of the side benefits is it does further diversify our fulfillment options and helps out in peak periods when the entire market is heavily constrained,” Grischow said.
The retailer charges a $10 fee for delivery, which may be adjusted over time, Grischow said. He also said that Abercrombie determines which carrier to use, based capacity and which service is the best one for a particular geographic area.
The service also allows anyone who uses the service to arrange for the same-day delivery of a gift, provided the recipient is located within the delivery range of a local Abercrombie store.
For customers who use the websites and mobile apps across Abercrombie’s brands, including Social Tourist, they can shop the full range of apparel inventory, and using the “Get It Fast” filter, find out which items are available at their local store and arrange for those items to be delivered the same day at checkout. Customers can also opt for tracking updates via text to find out when their order will arrive.
The new delivery offering complements Abercrombie’s omnichannel services, including purchase online pick up in store, curbside pickup, reserve in store, ship from store and traditional home parcel delivery.
“One of the strategies during our holiday periods is to reposition more inventory in the stores, with the expectation that we’re going to ship that inventory from stores to customers, leveraging store assets for e-commerce and those that come to [us in our stores],” he said.
The same-day option is the newest element of the company’s overall transformation strategy to be as customer facing and as agile as possible, Grischow said. The company is already keeping tabs on new learnings from the rollout to determine what other enhancements can be added to improve the service option, he added.
Abercrombie earlier this month opened a new distribution center in the Phoenix metropolitan area, in partnership with GXO Logistics, using automation and artificial intelligence to deliver merchandise quickly to the retailer’s customers in the West Coast market.
The company is slated to report third quarter earnings results in a few weeks. For the second quarter, the company posted earnings of $108.5 million on a net sales gain of 24 percent to $864.9 million.