Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) is the relatively new wave of retail behaviour taking over the consumer world. It describes the ability to research items of interest, compare products and consider reviews, make a purchase online and then select a convenient time and location from which to pick it up. There are many advantages to this way of purchasing for consumers, however, there is still more retailers can do to strengthen this shopping method.
Opinions of the people
A survey of 530 shoppers in the United States was conducted to ascertain what was important to them regarding the BOPIS process. Here are some of the outcomes of the study:
- 76% of consumers select BOPIS for the financial savings. By choosing this option they are saving on shipping costs and have the added benefit of not needing to spend time browsing in-store. This reduces the likelihood of making impulse purchases.
- Speed and convenience are the prime motivations behind selecting BOPIS. Consumers want a quick in-and-out shopping experience with 77% of those surveyed saying they would prefer to collect items from a designated area close to the store front. In fact, 80% of consumers expect to spend a maximum of 10 minutes in-store collecting their items, while 27% say they would prefer a maximum of 4 minutes.
- Other factors that have a large weighting on selecting the BOPIS option are good parking options, easily locatable stores, and efficient communication and fulfilment of orders (60% of those surveyed wanted confirmation of their order being ready within 4 hours of order placement).
These consumer opinions create a fantastic opportunity for capturing business if they can be met head-on. Let us now consider some ways in which you can prepare your company for the BOPIS wave.
To create a seamless omnichannel shopping experience it is important to have the right technology and software in place. If data is not accurately and efficiently shared across the different channels, there will be a mismatch of ordering and inventory which will inevitably create a surplus of inventory or even worse, a stockout. As the different systems including POS, eCommerce and ERP all function and handle data differently, it can be quite a challenge to integrate information and create one seamless system. Therefore, it is worth investing in custom-designed technology and building a knowledgeable IT department.
Mobile apps are the connection between the online and offline world and must be invested in for retailers to be successful at the BOPIS strategy. It is becoming more and more apparent that consumers like to use mobile apps to research and compare products while physically in-store therefore it is important to meet this need and create something that is accessible and easy to use while out and about.
As with any new initiative, it is important to ensure your staff are well-trained to champion it. For BOPIS, this to includes ensuring your staff know how to handle different types of orders efficiently, that they can listen and address any issues consumers have when they physically inspect the product and want to ask questions about it, and that they are able to take advantage of cross and upselling opportunities that become available when a customer walks into the store. These opportunities are not to be missed and require proactive staff to make the most of them.
Clear signage and accessibility
As found in the survey, consumers want a quick in-and-out experience when picking up purchases in-store. Therefore, it is important to ensure there is an accessible place where orders can sit, waiting for customers. This area needs to be well signposted and preferably close to the exits so that customers can head straight there and back to their car quickly. It is also important to consider whether there are trolleys available or staff to help customers carry items that may be oversized or heavy.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.