REI explores direct fulfillment
REI Co-op is attempting to broaden its online assortment.
During October 2019, the outdoor gear and apparel retailer will enable select suppliers to ship orders directly to customers. As a result, REI intends to offer customers online access to a wider variety of products, colors, and sizes.
The company is unlocking this capability with a limited number of brands, including Danner, ECCO, and Salomon, and will continue to add apparel and additional products to the program over the next year. According to REI, customers should not notice any difference when shopping on its e-commerce site.
Orders fulfilled directly from brand partners can only be shipped to home addresses. REI is working with DSCO, a drop-ship distributed inventory platform, to support the program. The retailer also offers other omnichannel services, including buy-online-pick-up in-store and store inventory fulfillment that allows the co-op to access inventory at any store location.
"This functionality opens up so many doors for our customers and gives them access to new sizes and styles of products that we could not stock previously," says Curtis Kopf, chief digital officer. "Now it will be easier to support our customers when they are asking for extended sizes, new styles, or additional colors."
Headquartered near Seattle, REI operates 157 stores in 37 states and the District of Columbia.