Buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS), or click-and-collect as online shoppers know it, is being adopted by retailers in the era of eCommerce. BOPIS has evolved to meet customer demand. Customers enjoy the flexibility and ease of shopping online on their own devices. They don’t have to hop around from store to store to find what they need. It’s there, waiting for them to purchase it online.
However, BOPIS is capitalising on one of the primary advantages it has over online shopping – instant gratification. This model allows a customer to remove the cost of shipping fees and come into their nearest store to pick it up as soon as possible.
This model is targeted towards customers who live near stores they want to purchase products from. Sometimes they just want to ensure what they need is in stock before they go. However, for stores to operate with the BOPIS model they need to have a strong online inventory management solution.
Online inventory management is key
The automation that an online inventory management system brings is essential to running a BOPIS model. There is no room for manual tracking and all inventory needs to be tracked automatically and in unison across the multiple distribution channels. BOPIS is just one of the many options that customers can use to get a product.
Online inventory management is needed to constantly keep track of every item in stock. Real-time updates allow customers and staff to see how much inventory is left. Since the online eCommerce platform will be communicating with the retail store with BOPIS, this information must be streamlined into one easy to operate tool.
Look for an inventory management consultant
Online inventory management tools are created to be scalable. They allow your business to grow and can adapt to different demands of your personalised inventory. However, sometimes you need a new set of eyes to find the best solution that works for your business, especially when incorporating BOPIS.
BOPIS sounds like a great option to keep retail stores running and delivery costs low. Yet, none of these benefits will be realised if the behind-the-scenes operations don’t flow seamlessly. A consultant can provide expert advice on logistics, inventory management strategies, as well as communication tools for the eCommerce platform and retail store.
Prepare for BOPIS with forecasting
Demand forecasting is an effective adjunct to better understand demand. You can analyse sales data and review historical patterns to assess demand throughout the year. There are certain times, like the holidays, when demand rises exponentially. To run the BOPIS model, your stores need to be stocked to provide for this demand. It’s important to note that there will be times where inventory stock doesn’t move. This BOPIS inventory will just sit in your retail space, just like it would in a warehouse. This occurs when demand is low and buyer habits shift. It’s important to be aware of and learn how to manage inventory during high and low periods.
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.