Like most other retailers, Salvos Stores was forced to close its stores for the first time in its history due to Covid-19. To maintain a connection with its customers, it fast tracked the development of its online store.

“Our in-store teams needed to learn an entirely new skill to list donations online and send them out to customers. But they embraced this new way of doing things and from just five stores listing online, this has grown to more than 200. It’s been inspiring to see the resilience of our teams and the loyalty of our customers over the past year,” Salvos Stores’ ecommerce manager, Lucas Ferrier told Retailbiz in a recent interview.

With a focus on the online storefront, Salvos Stores needed to enable each store to upload their own specific product, while providing consumers with a seamless user experience. The challenge was being able to ship the products and handle fulfilment from different locations.

This is where ShipStation came in, integrating into Salvos Stores’ ecommerce store to automate the entire order fulfilment and allow the retailer to optimise its shipping process.

“Choosing the right fulfilment technology was always going to be key to providing a good online experience and to be able to dispatch donated items from hundreds of locations. When a customer shops with us online, they can shop items and checkout in one seamless transaction,” Ferrier said.

“At checkout, customers can choose to receive their items via parcel post, express post or click & collect. Once the order has been placed, we split the order to the individual stores where the items are physically located using ShipStation’s automation rules. This makes it easy for our in-store teams to efficiently generate shipping labels and dispatch orders with tracking.”

Since going online, Salvos Stores online sales have more than tripled in 2020, parcel volumes more than quadrupled and more than 50,000 individual orders have been shipped from over 300 locations using ShipStation. Over 12,000 individually listed items are available to purchase online, with thousands of new items added every week.

“I think we will continue to see more people try second hand shopping for the first time through our online store. Op shopping has carried a stigma over the years which is starting to break down,” Ferrier said.

“For many, shopping in store at an op shop might be daunting so providing them with a familiar shopping experience through our online store means we have the opportunity to introduce them to second hand.”

When asked about his advice to other retailers working to capitalise on ecommerce growth, Ferrier said it is important to find the right partners and vendors that understand your unique requirements and share in the excitement for what is possible.

“For us, 100% of proceeds from purchases funding life-changing community programs, so we have been fortunate to find partners that truly want to help us so we can help more Australians doing it tough.”

Find out more about Salvos Stores journey online and how it delivers to online customers here.