October 11, 2018      3 min read

What is BOPIS?

The acronym is intriguing enough to grab your attention. BOPIS stands for buy online, pickup in store. In the eCommerce world, it is becoming a popular trend for getting products into customers’ hands sooner. The BOPIS model is a very clever strategy to build momentum for the “brick-and-click” operating method. Rather than shipping out inventory stock to customers, it makes their local retail store a fulfilment centre. Customers buy their product online and then pick it up at their local store, instead of having it shipped out to them. This can often decrease wait times and cost of delivery.

A real-life example

Last month I was packing for a holiday; I was leaving in four days. It wasn’t last minute packing, but I could have started earlier if I was really organised. With everything laid out of the floor, I realised that I couldn’t find my hiking boots. We had numerous hikes planned for our holiday so I really needed sturdy shoes. That’s when I turned to online shopping – I’ve worn the same brand of hiking boots for years so it was just a matter of finding the pair at the right price before my holiday.

Once I found them, I proceeded to the online check out. There were a few different shipping options – I could pay a premium and have them shipped overnight or I could have them delivered for free in two to five business days. However, I was leaving in four days, what if the boots came on the fifth day? Below the shipping options was a pickup in-store option. It was free and I could pick the boots up in the morning on my way to work. The store that sold the boots were only a few kilometres from my office so that would be easy.

I knew that the inventory stock was available. The brand and the size of my boots were there, and I’d already paid, so all I needed to do was pick it up. I got them sooner than the shipping options and didn’t have to go out of my way to get them. It was a win-win situation! BOPIS had proved to be a big advantage, and there are numerous benefits to the consumer and the retailer for implementing this model.

Convenience

BOPIS can provide customers with an added level of convenience. In the age of instant gratification, BOPIS can ensure you can get the product how you want it and when you want it. Multiple types of fulfilment options can enhance a customer’s buying experience. If it’s easier for them to wait and have it delivered to their doorstep, let them do that. However, if they want it sooner, providing them with the BOPIS option is an effective solution.

Reducing delivery costs

If you implement a BOPIS model, this can cut costs on shipping fees for both retailers and customers. Avoiding shipping fees for customers is a huge motivator. If they can get their product without paying a delivery premium, they will often opt for this option.

Real-time stock levels

With an effective inventory management system, your inventory stock levels at the store should communicate directly with your online eCommerce platform. This gives customers an idea of what items are available for BOPIS at their local store and which items may be limited in number or out-of-stock.

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