Buy Online Pick-Up In Store, also known as BOPIS, has taken the retail world by storm. Especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when consumers had no choice but to shop online for everything from groceries to fashion, BOPIS has skyrocketed in popularity, with the global BOPIS market expected to reach $703.18 billion by 2027, expanding with a double-digit CAGR of 19.3% year over year.
BOPIS has become a staple in the retail lexicon, with everyone from retail pundits to consumers to brand owners discussing its merits and drawbacks. So let’s dive into Buy Online Pick-Up In Store, from the very basics through to understanding the intricacies of a successful BOPIS offering, and what that means in practice for consumers and retailers alike.
Let’s start from the very beginning. Buy Online Pick-Up In Store, sometimes known as click and collect or curbside pick-up, refers to the blending of the online and offline shopping experience. Popularized in 2020, BOPIS allows consumers to place orders for products via a brand’s eCommerce website and pick up their orders at a retail storefront at their convenience rather than waiting for at-home delivery.
BOPIS adoption has increased dramatically in recent years, but retailers such as Walmart and Nordstrom have been ahead of the curve, providing a seamless customer experience and enabling speedy pick-up timeframes (more on this later). Since the pandemic, retailers of all different sizes have begun offering Buy Online Pick-Up In Store as an alternative order fulfillment strategy, and consumers’ expectations for the BOPIS experience have continued to rise.
Unsurprisingly, the rise of Buy Online Pick-Up In Store is fueled in large part by its popularity with consumers. Retailers that previously rejected eCommerce strategies or were hesitant to invest in BOPIS have essentially been forced to join the movement due to an overwhelming demand from their customer base. So, why are consumers crazy about BOPIS?
If we had to choose just one word to describe BOPIS, it would be “convenience.” Buy Online Pick-Up In Store allows consumers to browse for items from the comfort of their homes or on their phones in the subway, and collect their orders when and where they want. Generally speaking, BOPIS allows for shorter delivery timelines, since retailers can leverage their in-store inventory to satisfy online orders, eliminating the need for long journeys from the warehouse to the customer’s home address. Many consumers opt for BOPIS when they want something in a hurry or want to pick up an item on their way home or to an event. It’s the perfect mix of online and offline shopping.
We’ve all done it: loaded a shopping cart full of items, gone to check out, gawked at the shipping cost, and chosen to abandon the cart altogether. Amazon has completely changed the game for retailers, with consumers now expecting fast and free delivery from every brand. BOPIS allows retailers to eliminate shipping fees for consumers, often resulting in a pretty sizable discount as compared to pure-play online shopping, by leveraging in-store inventory to fulfill online demand.
Thankfully, Buy Online Pick-Up In Store is a win-win situation for consumers and retailers alike, when done right.
Every retailer in the world with brick-and-mortar locations has a goal to incentivize in-store visits. Offering same-day BOPIS increases foot traffic at your brick-and-mortar locations by adding an in-person component to historically eCommerce-only transactions. Even if you don’t have physical stores and rely instead on wholesalers, such as Nordstrom or Saks, BOPIS serves to demonstrate the value of a continued partnership. Flexible pick-up and return options ensure your store is never empty, and your customers can interact with your brand across both online and offline channels. Not to mention the increase in sales you’re almost guaranteed to experience when you implement a Buy Online Pick-Up In Store same-day fulfillment option.
Offering BOPIS is a great way to increase average order value. Once your customers have entered your store to pick up their online orders, it’s time to upsell. Some of this occurs naturally; as the customers walk through racks of clothing or aisles of products to approach the checkout counter, they can’t help but browse the other options available. Maybe they pick up something new and add it to their basket on their way out the door. Maybe they make a mental note to come back or buy online if they're in a rush. Studies show that 49% of BOPIS customers pick up other items when collecting their orders. That’s a nice addition to your bottom line!
BOPIS sounds great, and it is! So why aren’t all retailers offering a Buy Online Pick-Up In Store option, and why are some BOPIS experiences so much better than others? Why do some retailers not allow you to pick up an order for several days, while others allow you to come in just a few hours after placing your order? Why are some retailers still so hesitant to implement?
Real-time inventory visibility is the biggest contributing factor to the successful implementation and execution of a BOPIS program. In order to gain this visibility, retailers must implement the technology necessary to connect their eCommerce systems to their in-store point of sale to allow for a seamless, real-time flow of inventory information. And this is easier said than done. In fact, studies show that only 55% of retailers report having full inventory visibility. Customers are often turned away or have their orders canceled due to out-of-stock situations that were not accurately portrayed on the brand’s eCommerce website. Poor inventory visibility and management is a big enough problem in pure-play eCommerce situations, but the problem is compounded when you blend online and offline channels. Retailers must implement much more sophisticated technology to ensure inventory transparency and allow for store fulfillment of online orders.
You don’t want your BOPIS customers waiting in line with in-store customers to pick up their orders. That defeats the convenience element and creates a negative and cumbersome experience, so ideally you would have a separate BOPIS order pick-up desk to streamline the process. Ultimately, it’s up to your brand to decide how much real estate you want to devote to this pick-up desk and where it should be located.
You also don’t want customers to show up to pick up their orders, only to be asked to wait while an associate goes to the back room to begin preparing them. Customers should be alerted when orders are ready, and store associates need to receive notifications of new orders so they can begin preparing them ahead of time. As one might expect, this too requires new technology to be implemented at the store level.
While technology is absolutely the foundation of any successful omnichannel strategy (we should know), it’s by no means the only consideration. Companies that fail to implement a comprehensive store crediting framework risk the success of their entire omnichannel initiative. A store crediting framework is a policy intended to reward stores and their associates for driving or assisting sales and generating revenue. Very few brands have considered changing their store crediting policies to incentivize a company-wide adoption of their omnichannel vision. In the absence of such a policy, associates often view online sales as a threat to their job security and may attempt to sabotage the company’s initiatives. After all, why should a store associate spend their time fulfilling online orders if they aren’t going to be getting any commission for that effort? They’re better off serving clients in-store, thereby undermining your Buy Online Pick-Up In Store initiative.
The successful implementation of a BOPIS program requires both a technology and process change. You will likely need to onboard a new technology vendor that has the omnichannel capabilities you seek, whilst also training and informing your store managers and associates of changes to your compensation structure and store operations.
For years, eCommerce and point of sale (POS) systems managed their respective retail mediums with little cross-channel communication. But faced with shifting customer expectations and monumental advancements in technology, the retail market’s answer was omnichannel: integrating all online and in-person channels to offer customers the seamless shopping experience they now expect. An Omnichannel Order Management System is a software that enables retailers to unify inventory across stores and warehouses, creating a common pool of inventory to increase availability and sales. For multi-channel retailers, the omnichannel order management system (OMS) is the source.
Omnichannel Order Management systems have order brokering (routing) logic that helps retailers route online orders to the physical pick-up location closest to a customer’s shipping address, which helps to reduce both delivery time and cost for the retailer. Unfortunately, not all order management systems are created equal. In fact, we’ve put together a critical capabilities guide to help you distinguish the mediocre vendors from the great ones.
One of the most common challenges associated with Buy Online Pick-Up In Store implementation is misalignment between digital and retail store teams. Traditionally, these teams have operated as separate business units, an antiquated approach that will undoubtedly hinder the delivery of any omnichannel experience. The most successful retailers restructure their organizations to eliminate or bridge channel silos and unify all staff members around the customer. This often requires merging departments and creating cross-functional teams that include store operations, business technology, merchandising, marketing, and finance representatives working together to define new in-store operational processes.
Retailers must also implement new KPIs for their stores that align with their unique business model. As omnichannel capabilities like BOPIS and store fulfillment become more commonplace, brands must modernize their attribution models in a way that makes sense to them. One straightforward solution is to use postal codes to attribute online sales to local stores or create a bonus structure for the store team built around local online sales.
From setting clear expectations to building a user-friendly standard operating procedure, there are a lot of challenges for an in-store team that may not be trained in order fulfillment and equipped with the tools they need to run BOPIS effectively. Most stores have never performed fulfillment operations, so associates are not trained to pick, pack, and ship orders. This lack of training is one of the primary failures when it comes to leveraging in-store inventory to fulfill online orders, which underscores the importance of defining new roles and responsibilities to support order fulfillment from stores. This includes training store associates on omnichannel processes and technologies.
We recently connected with a Shopify retailer who was excited to implement BOPIS but worried that it would add too much strain to his store staff. This merchant mentioned that his associates needed to check the Shopify POS over and over again to make sure they didn't miss any BOPIS orders. This is not only a waste of time, it also comes with a lot of risks. If associates forget to check-in for an hour, a customer may arrive in-store and find that their order hasn't even been picked and packed. You need a BOPIS app that sends push notifications to store staff as soon as the BOPIS order is received and includes all the necessary order information to streamline the process. Your in-store software should also provide a dashboard that helps store associates check how many BOPIS orders are in queue.
Aim to have most BOPIS orders filled within a window of 2-4 hours. It allows shoppers to pick morning orders up in the afternoon, and afternoon orders up in the evening, as many customers are using BOPIS to schedule orders around their workday in this fashion. Brands can also offer a premium service in which customers can pay more for a quicker turnaround time.
First of all, we don’t recommend rolling out BOPIS to all of your store locations at once. While this advice doesn’t have anything to do with measuring BOPIS, an all-encompassing roll-out is almost always a recipe for disaster. Pilot a new initiative or software system at a few store locations before rolling it out to the whole company. The idea here is to pinpoint all possible issues and edge cases in the pilot period, so you can work out the kinks before scaling the strategy.
Many brands make the mistake of choosing their top-performing or largest, central store location for the pilot. Often, the staff at these store locations is quick to adapt to new changes and new technologies. This will skew the pilot performance and likely result in a smooth adoption with fewer challenges than will appear in lower-performing stores.
Select two or three stores for your pilot that represent a cross-section of the stores across your entire company. That way, when you roll it out to the company at large, you’ll have already encountered the vast majority of edge cases and possible challenges of your new omnichannel retail technology.
Once you’ve rolled out Buy Online Pick-Up In Store at one or more locations, it’s time to keep track of key performance indicators to measure the success of your program.
A BOPIS service should increase your average order value by cross-selling/upselling customers when they pick up orders in-store. Your company should measure in-store purchases made by customers on the same day they pick up their BOPIS orders. By measuring the average order size of your BOPIS orders, compared to the average order size of your non-BOPIS orders, you can measure the boost in revenue provided by this omnichannel offering.
Oftentimes, a new store increases online orders of that surrounding market. Measure the online orders in a new store's region and compare them to historical data from prior to the store opening.
BOPIS offerings also have a positive impact on online conversion rates. Same-day BOPIS services ensure customers receive their items very quickly, driving higher conversion rates. Measure what percentage of online orders are BOPIS orders to understand the success of your BOPIS initiative and work to increase these types of purchases moving forward.
A CLTV is the total worth of a customer to your business over the full period of their relationship. Measuring your CLTV for BOPIS customers and comparing it to non-BOPIS customers is a key way to understand the value of your BOPIS offering. You should also measure the percentage of your existing customer base who adopt BOPIS after rolling out the initiative.
With all of this said and done, is implementing Buy Online Pick-Up In Store the right move for your brand? Well, it depends. Do you have multiple retail storefronts? Are your stores located strategically to provide customers with a convenient pick-up location? Are you willing to make the necessary investments and changes to your technology and internal processes in order to ensure a successful BOPIS rollout?
If so, the answer is yes! Buy Online Pick-Up In Store can be the first of many omnichannel experiences you provide to your customers to enhance their shopping experience and further blend the online and offline worlds of retail.
At HotWax, we work with top retailers, including brands like Steve Madden, to offer omnichannel experiences like BOPIS, Ship From Store, and Pre-Orders. If you are considering offering BOPIS to your customers, schedule a demo with our team to learn about our unique, comprehensive software solution and discover how we can support you in your omnichannel journey.
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