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What is BOPIS in Retail?

BOPIS stands for buy online, pickup in store.

It is a retail fulfillment model for online orders through store locations that the customer chooses. It is also referred to as click & collect and curbside pickup

Why Would Customers Choose In-Store Pickup?

There are many reasons why customers would choose BOPIS over having their order delivered to their home. These reasons include:

  • Customer wants to pickup the order immediately if the item is available at the store
  • Customer doesn’t have a proper receiving location for their online orders
  • There is a risk of package theft at the customer’s location
  • Customer wants to save on shipping fees
  • The option to return or exchange the item on the spot if the customer doesn’t like it or the size was not fitting

How BOPIS Works?

How BOPIS works
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BOPIS model works through the following steps:

  1. The customer places an order online and chooses the pickup location
  2. The order gets received by a central OMS (order management system), which either routes the order to the warehouse if the item is not in stock at the chosen store, or routes it for fulfillment from the store if the item is available
  3. The store is notified of the new order and the customer details
  4. The store prepares and packs the order and keeps it in a designated location
  5. Customer is notified that the order is ready for pickup
  6. Customer visits the store to pickup the order
  7. Order is marked as fulfilled on the OMS

BOPIS Statistics

BOPIS Growth & Adoption

BOPIS sales are expected to grow to $154.3 billion by 2025, representing 9.6% of retail ecommerce sales in the U.S.

Source: eMarketer

According to an ICSC survey, over 50% of online shoppers use click & collect.

BOPIS Experience

When customers were surveyed on what would be the most important factors that would make them satisfied with their BOPIS experience, 43% of them indicated that this would be the “availability of product I needed for same-day pickup“; making this the top cited factor by the surveyed sample.

The second and third factors were “Wait time upon arrival at the store” and “Turnaround time for when product could be picked up once order was placed“.

All of those factors are linked to time-saving.

Top 3 Reasons

A survey by Digital Commerce has shown that the top 3 reasons cited by surveyed customers on why they have chosen BOPIS over other fulfillment options were:

  • It’s more convenient (50% of surveyed sample)
  • I wanted to avoid going into the store (47%)
  • I can save time (46%)

This, again, shows the importance of saving time for customers, and how it affects their buying behavior.

According to another study conducted by NRF, 70% of respondents have indicated that BOPIS has improved their shopping experience. Also, over 9 in 10 who tried a type of BOPIS, rate it as convenient.

More Purchases for Retailers

More than 50% of surveyed BOPIS customers indicated that they would make unplanned purchases once they are in the store for pickup.

Another study shows that once consumers try click & collect, they become loyal to it, as 96% of respondents who tried it said they would continue to use it.

Which shows some of the benefits BOPIS can bring for retail businesses that implement it.

Benefits for Retail Businesses

Retail businesses can benefit from implementing BOPIS, as it represents a competitive advantage over other pure play online retail businesses, or other retailers who don’t present this fulfillment option to their customers. As we have seen, a big reason for customers choosing this fulfillment option is to save time and receive their orders the same day.

In the last few years, a lot of retailers have started to realize this, and even the ones who don’t have brick & mortar locations to offer BOPIS through, have started to explore partnering with other businesses or locker services to fulfill through them.

Besides the fact that BOPIS helps retailers drive more foot traffic to their stores, research has shown that this footfall does result in more sales through unplanned purchases, as we have shown through the above statistics.

BOPIS also helps retailers avoid lost sales opportunities that could result from not having the item in stock at the warehouse or at the store, and helps the customer choose an alternative location to fulfill the order from.

Challenges of Implementation

Implementing such a new system does not come without challenges.

After all, customers choose this fulfillment option, because they have certain expectations from it, and so the retailer needs to have the right operations in place, to be able to deliver on that promise. Otherwise, what has been considered a competitive advantage might fire back and become a source of customer frustration.

The below are the most common challenges faced by retailers while implementing BOPIS.

1. Technology & Infrastructure

Implementing BOPIS requires having the right technology and infrastructure in place, to be able to have the process move smoothly throughout its different stages.

For a start, a centralized order management system (OMS) is needed, that is able to capture the order and route it to the right fulfillment center. For such a system to work correctly, it needs to have visibility over the entire inventory of the business; at the warehouse and at all the stores. This inventory also needs to be synced and update in real-time, to avoid having the customer ordering an item that has already been sold out at the store.

The infrastructure also includes having a specified area at the store to stock BOPIS shipments and hand them over to customers.

2. Staffing & Employee Training

Offering BOPIS will require having store staff dedicated to this process, and this staff needs to be trained on the technology and process used for ecommerce order tracking & fulfillment.

As we mentioned before, customers use this option to save time, so a speedy order handover at the customer service desk or through curbside pickup is required. For this to happen, enough staff needs to be there to fulfill all the orders on time, and they should be well trained on locating the order, tracking missing orders, and marking delivered order as “fulfilled”.

3. Initial Investment

To implement the system and fulfill all the requirements to have it run smoothly, the retail business will need to invest in setting up the required infrastructure we’ve just outlined and to hire & train additional staff to run this operation.

Depending on the existing capabilities and infrastructure of the business, this investment might not be a small one.

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More Resources

Thank you for reading this article on BOPIS. We believe you might find the following free resources useful:

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