Since the pandemic started in 2020, online shopping has become a popular alternative to more traditional brick-and-mortar.
From its convenience (when was the last time you shopped at a store without pants on) to its lack of line-ups and ease of finding what you’re looking for, e-commerce often seems like the clear choice for making the majority of day-to-day purchases. But with all its advantages, there also comes a few challenges that could leave online carts abandoned by frustrated customers.
Buy online, pick up in-store has been gaining momentum these past few years, with more and more shoppers opting to make their purchases online and pick them up in person. Since the onset of COVID-19, this retail strategy has grown in popularity by 106.9% and is expected to reach a whopping $703 Billion by 2027 (Research and Markets).
Retailers are quickly adopting this multichannel service, thanks to its long list of benefits for both the business and the customer. And with the holiday season officially here, offering BOPIS to busy customers looking for a quick way to purchase gifts on time—and without fighting the crowds—could have an immediate impact on sales.
If you haven’t implemented BOPIS yet or simply don’t know enough about it, here’s your chance to find out everything you need before deciding if it’s right for your store, including:
- What BOPIS is;
- How it works;
- Why customers love it;
- How it benefits retailers; and
- What you need to get started.
What is BOPIS?
BOPIS–short for ‘Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store’–is an omnichannel fulfillment method that enables shoppers to buy items on a retailer’s website and go to a physical location for pick-up.
This service bridges the gap between online and physical store experiences by making the buying process more convenient for retailers and customers. Shoppers are able to enjoy the simplicity of online shopping and immediacy of getting their items faster than if they chose delivery. This approach is excellent for shops that have both a brick-and-mortar store and a website or app, especially because it lets customers move effortlessly between selling channels.
Studies through Harvard Business Review found that 73% of customers prefer shopping through multiple channels. Even more importantly, omnichannel consumers have a 30% higher value than those who shop using only one channel. Put these facts together, and it’s clear that BOPIS provides customers with the omnichannel experience they want, while also increasing the opportunity to convert more visitors.
How does BOPIS work?
The buy online, pick up in-store process is pretty straightforward and can be broken down into three easy steps:
1. A customer makes a purchase through a website or mobile app.
Once the customer is ready to complete the purchase, they select ‘pick-up in-store’ during the checkout process. Real-time inventory informs them of which locations are available for pickup. The customer then chooses the location they want to pick up their order from.
2. The retailer processes the order.
This can be fulfilled in two ways: The item is in stock at the customer’s selected location, enabling the store to collect, pack, and set it aside for pick-up; or the item is not in stock at the chosen location and has to be shipped in from another store for pick up.
Once the item is ready for pick-up, the store notifies the customer through an email or text message.
3. The customer picks up their order.
After being informed that their order is ready, the customer goes to the store for pick-up. Some stores designate other pick-up locations or offer curbside pickup for added expediency.
What benefits does BOPIS offer?
When done right, BOPIS can be a game-changer in improving the customer experience and giving your annual revenue a boost.
Over the last six months, nearly 67% of US shoppers used BOPIS for their online purchases, thanks to its ease, convenience, and omnichannel approach. Some of the benefits customers find most appealing include:
50% of shoppers say convenience is the main reason they prefer BOPIS. By offering buy online, pick up in-store, customers can enjoy the comfort of ordering online ine and receiving the item sooner in-store. And if they happen to dislike what they purchased, they can simply return it, sometimes even in the same visit.
No Shipping Fees
Paying delivery costs is one of the primary reasons online shoppers leave items behind. BOPIS eliminates unwanted charges by allowing customers to pick their purchases up in-store or at a designated pickup location. It’s why 65% of consumers choose to use this service.
According to Digital Commerce, 35% of consumers want the products they purchased the same day. Because BOPIS enables store associates to prepare orders using inventory that’s in-stock at their location, customers are able to receive their items sooner than if they were delivered. This comes in especially handy for those needing an item ASAP.
When customers use BOPIS services, they know the items they want are available thanks to a real-time inventory check during the online purchasing process. If an item happens to be out of stock at the selected store, the retailer can have it shipped to the location, removing the burden from the customer. BOPIS also prevents shoppers from having to make a trip to a store, only to find out that what they want is unavailable.
Peace of Mind
By now, everyone has heard of annoying porch pirates who prey on packages sitting patiently on front steps, awaiting their owner’s retrieval. With BOPIS, shoppers know their items will be safely stored until they are ready to get them. It also eliminates the burden of shipping delays or having to track packages. This added security can be priceless—35% of shoppers like BOPIS because of how safe it is.
Easy Peasy Returns
Returning online orders can be a real hassle, so having a service that allows this process to be seamlessly simple is valuable to many shoppers. Buy online, pick up in-store makes returning or exchanging items incredibly easy by removing shipping labels, packaging, and drop-off to the nearest post office. Instead, customers can return their items in-store for an immediate refund or exchange. It’s why 23% prefer using BOPIS over standard delivery.
According to Shopify, 59% of consumers are interested in BOPIS-type options, but how does this benefit the stores that offer it? Some serious retailer gains include:
Increased In-Store Traffic
Brick and mortars aren’t as busy as they used to be, as more shoppers turn online for their purchases. Fortunately, services like BOPIS can help get more customers into physical stores. 38% of retailers said buy online, pick up in-store was vital to bringing shoppers into the store. And the more foot traffic, the greater the chance to cross-sell, upsell, and enhance your customer experience.
Have you ever gone to a store for something specific, only to leave with a bag full of items you weren’t planning on buying? Buy online, pick up in-store is a wonderful way to entice customers to browse around while in your store. In fact, 49% of shoppers who have used BOPIS ended up making additional purchases while picking up their order. In the end, customers get what they want, and stores have a chance to generate more sales, making it a win-win for everyone.
Improved Inventory Management
With BOPIS, retailers can manage orders from both their stores and distribution centers, providing access to a larger range of inventory. By combining these two systems, retailers have a better understanding of what’s available, while also being able to fulfill customer orders faster, therefore enhancing the overall customer experience.
Quick Tip: Pay attention to items that are selling quickly, so they’re always stocked up. One way of achieving this is by ensuring your point of sale (POS) is in constant communication with any other support systems that are involved.
Reduced Shipping Costs
Customers who choose BOPIS save on shipping costs, but so do retailers. That’s because there are fewer orders to ship out—especially to last-mile deliveries that can cost a pretty penny for a short distance. By having a store associate fulfill orders for pick-up, more cash is left over to use for other strategies, such as expanding your reach to markets further away or providing personalized recommendations to shoppers browsing online.
What are the requirements for BOPIS?
Now that you know what BOPIS is, how it works, and its wide range of benefits, it’s time to determine if your store has what’s needed to offer it to your customers. Here’s what you need to get started:
- A website or mobile app for online ordering
The first step to offering buy online, pick up in-store is having a retail site or app that shoppers can order from. This platform should easily connect to your in-store POS system for precise inventory quantities.
- Real-time inventory capabilities
In order to provide the most recent inventory to your customers, the right technology needs to be implemented and should sync your stock levels across all of your stores and distribution locations.
- A brick-and-mortar location.
Having a website or app is only part of the equation for BOPIS to work. A physical store is also required for customers to pick up their items, and should be located somewhere that is convenient to access for visitors.
That’s it! Just those three things and you’re on your way!
The BOPIS Bottom Line
Online shopping isn’t going anywhere, and neither are consumers’ demands for more tailored customer services. Buy online, pick up in-store is an omnichannel strategy that provides the best of both worlds, by merging the convenience of e-commerce with the promptness of in-store pick-up—making customers happier (70% say BOPIS improves the shopping experience).
BOPIS also gives retailers a chance to increase sales by bringing more people to brick-and-mortar locations who otherwise may have not come. With just a few key components and the right technology to support your inventory demands, you’ll be able to drive customer loyalty, while also giving your revenue a pleasant boost.
Looking to revamp your
Whether it’s finding ways to increase conversions or implementing tactics to personalize your shopping experiences, Granify can help. We’ve got all the tools and know-how to transform your online store into your customers favorite place to shop.
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