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Print on Demand Guide to Dark Store: Key Things to Know

Print on Demand Guide to Dark Store: Key Things to Know

Customers expect instant gratification when they shop. That’s why many people prefer to shop at a physical store; they can find what they’re looking for, make a purchase, and have it delivered on the same day. However, the pandemic made this shopping experience more difficult to provide. As a result, many physical retailers, from small to large, have opted for “dark stores” to offer more of their products online and use their retail space to store a large amount of inventory, fulfill orders, and provide more options. Print on demand delivery is booming, and the dark store is at the heart of this so-called quick commerce.


 retail distribution centers

A dark store is a retail store that has been converted into a micro-fulfillment center with an organized and optimized layout for the retail fulfillment of online orders. These retail distribution centers are not open to the public, allowing more space to store inventory and accurately fulfill customer orders. Once an order is placed, items can be picked and packed in the dark store before being shipped or picked up locally by the customer. This gives retailers options for both local and international customers. 


1. Curbside Pickup
 pick up orders

Customers can quickly pick up orders at the curbside. It typically consists of designated parking areas where a retailer employee will bring out the order so the customer does not have to exit their vehicle. This not only provides customers with safety during the pandemic, but it is also very convenient.

2. In-store Pickup
In-store Pickup

Many traditional dark stores have a designated pickup area inside, usually near the front door. Customers will not have to walk through the entire dark store to pick up their packages this way. Customers benefit from this, and delivery costs are reduced. 

3. Home Delivery
Home Delivery

Home delivery has become more common, particularly among local retailers. Customers benefit from fast, convenient, contactless delivery, especially for essentials. However, home deliveries can also be made by shipping orders to customers who live a long distance away by creating an online store and shipping orders.

You can fulfill orders for shipment within the dark store, or if you don’t have the resources to set up a dark store, you can work with a print on demand service provider to fulfill and ship online orders on your behalf. 


1. Dark stores stock a wide variety of products.
variety of products

Because customers are not permitted inside functional dark stores, their layout can be designed to improve storage and picking capabilities. Improving storage capacity ensures a wider product assortment, while faster picking ensures orders are filled more quickly without sacrificing accuracy.

2. Better view of stock levels. 
stock levels

Because dark stores are much smaller than traditional warehouses, inventory levels are much easier to track. Many dark stores have inventory management tools to help them control stock levels in real-time. These tools also assist retailers in determining whether they are stocking too much inventory or not enough, which can result in stockouts. You can always maintain an optimal inventory level by simplifying the inventory control process. 

3. Increased warehouse efficiency.
warehouse efficiency

One dark store may support retail fulfillment for several geographic regions. Dark stores can handle a high volume of orders because these warehouses are customer-free zones where pickers can easily navigate aisles without having to dodge shoppers and their carts. But not without the appropriate technology. Though dark stores can easily provide more delivery options for customers, optimizing dark stores without the right technology to automate fulfillment tasks can be difficult.  

4. Increased order consumption. 
 shipping options

Customers who become accustomed to your brand’s quick, dependable, and accurate delivery of goods will likely become long-term, loyal customers. Dark stores allow you to provide more options for your customers, whether pickup options or different shipping options, which ultimately drives more sales and increases customer lifetime value. 


1. Fast delivery solutions.
 Fast delivery

Not only do dark stores allow for contact-free in-store merchandise sales, but they also offer stress-free and quick delivery options. Dark stores eliminate the need for shoppers to waste time looking for a parking spot, rummaging through the store to find what they need, and standing in long lines at the checkout. These ecommerce fulfillment centers provide fast delivery for local customers and affordable shipping for all other customers while leveraging their physical retail space to keep carrying costs low. 

2. Efficient dark store picking.
picking and packing

Unlike large warehouses, dark stores simplify the picking and packing process by storing a large volume of inventory in a smaller space. Dark stores are designed primarily to fulfill orders, allowing merchants to maximize easy-picking space. This speeds up and improves the accuracy of warehouse picking and inventory tracking. 

3. Provides more options for customers.
delivery options

This year, shoppers tasted various delivery options for their online orders, such as curbside pickup, local delivery, and faster, more affordable shipping. Dark stores, particularly for necessities such as personal care items and groceries, allow local customers to easily pick up orders or have them delivered as quickly as the same day. As a result, these delivery options will likely persist for years after the pandemic.


 fulfillment options

Dark retailing allows traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to swim with the ecommerce tide rather than against it. Retailers can differentiate themselves by offering a wide range of products, multiple fulfillment options, and quick ecommerce order fulfillment while lowering operating costs and significantly increasing store efficiencies. Dark shopping will undoubtedly take on many new and creative forms as it evolves, but the owners and operators of today’s dark emporiums will be well-positioned to participate in tomorrow’s innovations.

A dark store may be ideal for you if you want to increase sales or gain more control over your delivery operations. However, you’re not alone in this run. Fulfillplex, a top ecommerce fulfillment company, is more than happy to assist you in fulfilling your customer’s orders – From shipping to fulfillment, we handle all the logistics. Focusing on operational efficiency and faster customer delivery times—a winning combination for any growing company! Contact us now. 

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