What challenges and opportunities do you see for Bigelow in offering all products
Bigelow stores is a general merchandise retailer located in Atlanta, GA. With 250 stores and three distribution centers (DCs) located in the southeast United States, Bigelow has captured a significant market share in the off-price market. Bigelow carries everyday items as well as “one-time” buy specials that it advertises to consumers at special discounted prices. Bigelow also carries food products with expiration dates but none need refrigeration. Because of the density of the market and the size of its stores, Bigelow can ship full truckloads (TL) of its products from its DCs to its stores on a daily basis. Bigelow currently does not have an internet presence.
With a high market penetration in the southeast intact, Bigelow has decided to expand into the northeast and midwest through acquisitions. It has acquired a medium-sized retailer in Pennsylvania, Lions, that specializes in both general merchandise and perishable and non-perishable food items. Lions currently has 100 stores and two distribution centers in the northeast. It utilizes both direct TL shipments to larger stores that are closer to the DCs and pool distribution to the smaller, more distant stores. Lions has an internet presence where consumers can order groceries online and then pick their order up the same day at the store. Bigelow also acquired Spartan Stores, located in Michigan. Spartan is an outdoor recreational sports retailer that has 50 stores and one DC. It is an omni-channel retailer that picks and ships both store and internet orders from its single DC. Spartan utilizes LTL carriers for store deliveries and small package carriers for internet orders.
Bigelow’s strategy is to grow these acquired firms, first regionally, then nationally and to incorporate them under the Bigelow name. It also has decided to invest heavily in an internet presence to become an omni-channel retailer.
What challenges and opportunities do you see for Bigelow in offering all products to all consumers on a single Web site? Would the current DC network support this strategy? Explain your answer.
Retailer B has been trying to extend its product line and presence by acquiring retailers of different regions and product categories. It is also participating in the online arena to expand its customer base.
The online channel may pose certain challenges to Retailer B. Since it aims to operate on a national level, it may be difficult to handle both offline and online distribution channels on a large scale. Moreover, it may face inventory problems in case the online orders exceed its estimation. The clash between online and offline deliveries can be problematic for Retailer B. Also, the investment in the online channel may not succeed due to competition from established online retailers.
However, despite the challenges, there are few opportunities for Retailer B in online retailing. It may expand the customer base of the retailer. The competitor's customers can be attracted by Retailer B using aggressive online offers. Moreover, it can help the retailer to achieve economies of scale by converting Less than Truck Load (LTL) into Truck Load (TL) deliveries for its offline stores. These LTL deliveries may add the online order quantity and help the company to save transportation costs. Also, the company can cover wider geographical regions using the online model.
The current Distribution Centers(DCs) network of the company may not be able to handle both online and offline channels. For example, the DC network of Retailer L acquired by Retailer B is focused on offline distribution through its two DCs. This system may fail in case there is a surge of online orders. Retailer B's 3 DCs may fail to supply both online and offline orders to its 250 stores. Hence, the current strategy may be ineffective for the new omnichannel design.
However, if Retailer B optimizes the current model to suit the needs and demands of both offline and online channels, it may succeed in creating an efficient supply chain network. For example, it may use the optimization model and apply mathematical tools to find the best alternative in the current supply chain network.
Retailer B may face many challenges while selling its products on one website. It might not be able to maintain both online and offline distribution channels. Furthermore, It might not have enough inventory storage space to meet both online and offline demands.
There might also be some opportunities for Retailer B. It can help Retailer B in expanding its customer base. It can also help in achieving economies of scale. This can be done by increasing the order size and converting less than truckload into truckload deliveries.
Retailer B's current distribution channel may not be able to handle both online and offline operations. This is because an increase in orders of one channel may hinder the operations of the other channel.
However, Retailer B may be able to cater to both online and offline channels. This can be achieved by optimizing the current model to create an effective supply chain network.