The concept of dark stores is not new, as some chains of shops in the United Kingdom have been operating in it since 2013. But the concept of dark stores in the Arabian Gulf was only recently realized, especially in light of the atmosphere of social separation and the ban imposed by the Corona pandemic at the time.
This form of stores has helped expand the scope of work for many e-commerce companies, and other great advantages that we will learn about together. In this article, we will show you all the details about dark stores and how they work, as well as how to verify that this dark store is profitable and actually feasible.
Dark stores meaning
It is a retail space but not open for in-store shopping, and was developed to fulfill online orders.
That is, this type of store is similar to actual stores, but without marketers, and contains corridors and shelves carrying goods, and so on..
The main purpose of the idea of this type of store is to provide small warehouses close to customer sites.
That’s will facilitate and make deliveries faster, while keeping operating costs low at the same time.
There are two types of such stores; Where a special dark store is created for a well-known brand, and this type depends on delivery options, and enabling the customer to receive the orders himself.
As for the second type, it is the one that is done by creating a dark-type store with a specific area, to be divided and rented to several brands, and depends on delivery only.
How do dark stores work?
These stores, especially at the present time, are very popular among electronic stores, which many e-store owners have become dependent on.
As for how these stores work, they are just like regular stores, but the difference is that the first ones do not have payments, accountants, or other features found in regular stores.
This is because these types of stores are primarily intended to support the digital shopping service, so that it becomes faster, easier and more effective for online shoppers.
Automated systems play a large role in the work mechanism of the injustice type stores, as orders are collected and transported to the dispatch areas through programmed mechanical machines to the delivery workers.
Instead of relying on the use of human workers to carry out tasks related to the collection and transportation of orders, and so on..
How to ensure a dark store is profitable?
The dark store can provide its users with a lot of amazing benefits and advantages, if they can use it properly.
For example, you use it to provide many storage units in low quantities with rapid stock rotations.
This will help you to bring your entire inventory close to your customers, and also if your store enables you to sell products with a short life easier.
As if your store is able to hold a large stock and handle orders better as well as provide customers with various options for delivery.
Why are dark stores on the rise?
Recently, there has been a significant increase in the use and adoption of this type of store, the main reason behind this is the retail disruptions that occurred during the CoronaVirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The need for this type of stores has also increased due to the rapid digital transformation in the current era, as well as the aspirations of consumers who are looking for speed in the first place.
With the rise in the rate of remote work and electronic shopping, as well as the frequent use of social networking sites, it was necessary to provide suitable and convenient alternatives for consumers.
Therefore, there has become a necessity to use and adopt these dark stores, especially with the high rise in e-commerce in the Arab world and the world as a whole.
Why use a dark store?
Whether you have a well-established e-commerce business or have switched from traditional sales to online sales, delivery to customers is likely to be present in your sales and service offerings.
You must be wondering why you are adopting and using these dark stores, but in fact if you are one of those who own an e-commerce business or want to switch to online sales then you really need to adopt this type of store.
This is because of the huge advantages that it will provide to you, it will be those stores that operate close to your customers, as opposed to outsourcing that may put your goods in a regional distribution center farther compared to dark stores.
So they will help you keep better in-house inventory management at lower cost, with only outsourcing of deliveries.
Also among the advantages of these stores is the ability to send deliveries of purchases quickly, and this is due to the short distance from the store to your customers, that is, delivery is carried out within hours of ordering directly.
4 dark store case studies
There are many successful case studies that have proven the effectiveness and merit of the dark shop system, and here are 4 of the most important ones in the world:
Bolt Company and Delivery Services
One of the effective case studies on darkrooms was brought to us by Bolt, a company that specializes in providing urban transportation services.
Recently, she joined the food delivery market in Europe, with the adoption and use of dark stores in her business, which helped her greatly in growing her business and competing in the market.
Gorillas: Provide orders within 10 minutes
Gorillas is one of the modern delivery companies in Germany that ships and delivers orders to customers in just 10 minutes.
It was able to do this by relying on dark stores, which helped it own more than 35 fulfillment centers and thus provide services and delivery effectively to become one of the fastest delivery companies in the world.
Tesco supermarket chain in the UK
The term dark stores first appeared in the UK with the Tesco supermarket chain, which was empty of customers and was sending orders weekly to customers through more than 3,500 retail stores.
And the Tesco supermarket chain found that these types of stores are the most effective at handling online sales.
Nordstrom: Expanding towards online ordering
Nordstrom is a company that has a number of affiliated stores that offer many different products, such as clothing, jewelry and household items.
With the Corona pandemic, it closed a large number of its stores and decided to rely on this type of store and convert its business to become electronic.
It began collecting online orders and delivering them to customers directly, after deciding to close a group of its stores completely and relying on online sales.