The Fulfillment Center Behind the Bonobos Guideshop

Posted by JR Siegel on Thu, Apr 11. 2013 @ 10:04 AM

Bonobos Order FulfillmentWhere most businesses see threat, great ones see opportunity.  Consumers recently began trying products out in traditional retail stores before buying them online at home.  Retailers call this practice showrooming.  According to a recent report by The Fed, “42 percent of smartphone users have used their phone to comparison shop at a retail store, and 32 percent have used it to scan a product’s barcode to find the best price for the item.”  Moreover, 64 percent of consumers who comparison shop on their smartphone change where they buy a product based on the information they find on their phones.

Showrooming consumers are following the time-honored strategy of “try before you buy.”  Bonobos CEO Andy Dunn realized that, for eCommerce-centric retailers without traditional retail stores, many consumers who couldn’t try simply wouldn’t buy.  To give these potential customers an opportunity to “try before they buy”, Dunn created the Guideshop and made showrooming an integral part of Bonobos business.      

As Greg Petro explained in Forbes, the concept behind the Guideshop is simple: “you make an appointment, try on what you want, place the order online while in the shop, and it shows up at your home.”  Since everyone makes an appointment, all shoppers at the Guideshop work with a stylist who offers feedback and helps you decide what looks best.   

Beyond the stylists and great clothes, Guideshops are successful because of how the orders show up at customers’ homes: crisply folded in craft paper, looking sharp—and within a day or two.  

How do the orders get to customers so quickly?  Let’s take a look.

Once an order is placed at a Guideshop (or, it gets transmitted to Quiet’s Fulfillment Management System (software).  Next, one of the Kiva systems robots in our east coast fulfillment center—maybe SirLancelBot or BettyBot—goes over to the storage pod containing the items that were purchased, spins around like a corkscrew, picks the pod up, and takes it over to picking station. 

The robots are relatively smart—they can Tweet after all—and only take Bonobos products to pack out stations staffed by people versed in Bonobos branding and order presentation requirements.  These warehouse associates take the clothes from the pod, fold them according to Bonobos standards, place them inside the craft paper, affix a sticker and—voilà!—the box is on a delivery truck, headed for your door.  If the order is placed before 5pm, it will go out on a delivery truck that day; if the order is placed later, it'll ship the next day.  

Truly revolutionary businesses like Bonobos pay as much attention to what the customer can’t see—like the fulfillment center—as what they can, like their pants and website. 

Interested in booking an appointment at a Bonobos Guideshop?  Check here to see if there’s one in your city. 

Want to have eCommerce order fulfillment like Bonobos?   

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Topics: Ecommerce trends, Third party Fulfillment