October 1, 2019
The business turning empty space into fulfilment centres
Retailers are piling into next/same-day delivery, led as usual by Amazon, but most retailers simply don’t have the fulfilment capacity or reach to offer a competitive proposition.
Enter Darkstore, a fulfilment solution which takes unused spaces or excess capacity in shopping centres, storage facilities and small convenience stores and allows retailers to utilise these as ‘dark stores’.
Using the Darkstore solution, brands can have local inventory right where they need it to fulfil much faster delivery times, often shipping for delivery the same-day.
Darkstore recently raised $21 million in Series B funding and currently operates in over 600 locations across 39 US cities, with plans to expand rapidly.
The concept is similar to using a retailer’s own stores as fulfilment locations, but instead outsources the storage and delivery to a third party. This will make it easier to set up quickly but retailers may want to have more control via in-house options as their own capabilities develop.
We’ve yet to see a comparable offering in the UK, but with private equity juggernauts like Blackstone recently announcing multi billion dollar bets on warehouse space in urban areas it’s likely a matter of time until similar businesses spring up in Europe.
(Header image credit TechCrunch)