BOPIS has become increasingly popular since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Now, as we begin to enter a post-COVID era, industries across the spectrum have begun to see the ongoing benefits of using BOPIS services. Not only do these services offer security and safety in times of fear and anxiety, but they also provide solutions to help businesses adapt to today’s busy lifestyle.
What is BOPIS?
BOPIS refers to “buy online, pick up in-store.” It reflects a new era of shopping that allows businesses to adapt to today’s click-and-collect world, where customers use online stores to shop and then pick up their items on-site. Some retailers even offer BOPAC or “buy online, pick-up curbside.”
Both services have been essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only have they provided a solution for businesses faced with temporary closures due to government restrictions, but they have also allowed customers to practice safe social distancing. Fortunately, the forced adoption of the new technology has proven beneficial to businesses, as they experience improved customer satisfaction and increased revenue.
Why do Customers Prefer BOPIS?
BOPIS has helped meet the changing demands of consumers. As we continue to live in a fast-paced environment, consumers want to spend less time browsing and focus more on leveraging technology to expedite their shopping experience.
Amazon, a trend-setter in this area, is an example of how consumer demand can influence a company’s success. What started as a small online bookstore has grown into the largest e-commerce platform in the world. However, not all consumers immediately turn to Amazon for their shopping needs. Some prefer an option that allows them to pick up items same-day or view products before bringing them home, while others simply choose not to support such a large company. In these instances, businesses can rely on Ombori Grid BOPIS to support their customers' demands.
- BOPIS expedites the shopping experience. Instead of searching for products in the store, consumers can shop online, which requires store employees to find and pack items. This allows the customer to shop from home or multi-task – for example, while waiting to pick up their children from school. Shopping no longer requires extended time; instead, it can be done instantly.
- BOPIS offers insights into what is in and out of stock. When customers visit a store, they expect it to have the items they are looking for. Unfortunately, in some cases, consumers learn that an item is no longer in stock, leading them to deem the entire visit a waste of time. Effective BOPIS software includes inventory management tools and allows customers to view what is available. If an item is not in stock, they have the option to order it for delivery, or they can shop at a different location. This feature is especially useful when kids are headed back to school! Students often receive a list of required materials that parents can use to complete orders online and ensure their children are prepared for the first day of class.
- BOPIS includes no shipping costs. While ordering items for home delivery may sound like a more straightforward solution, many customers want to avoid shipping costs. As a result, they turn to BOPIS, which allows them to place an order online but avoid paying money for shipping.
- BOPIS offers quick-and-easy returns and exchanges. Another challenge with online shopping is trying to return items. If customers order something to be delivered, they must participate in the shipping process to return or exchange it. BOPIS, on the other hand, allows customers to complete returns and exchanges at the brick-and-mortar store where they completed the order, allowing them to avoid the mailing process altogether.
How do Businesses Benefit From BOPIS?
While BOPIS helps businesses meet consumer demands, it also provides them with certain benefits.
- BOPIS enables a more personalized customer experience. Staff who fill orders can personalize the experience for customers when they arrive to pick up their items. As customers begin to experience this shift in service, their satisfaction levels are likely to increase.
- BOPIS offers insights into consumer analytics. BOPIS offers businesses the ability to make data-driven decisions for their operations. They can understand which items are in-demand versus which ones are bought more frequently on a whim. BOPIS also offers businesses the option to improve target marketing by understanding consumer shopping trends.
- BOPIS increases store sales. According to research, 49% of shoppers indicated that they make additional purchases in-store while picking up their BOPIS orders. BOPIS brings clients into the building, where they often make impulse purchases, thus increasing revenue for the retailer.
Companies Leveraging BOPIS
Several major businesses across the United States have reaped the benefits of offering BOPIS and BOPAC services to their customers. Here are some examples.
Home Depot introduced BOPIS in 2018 when it invested $11 billion to improve its retail experience. This included improving their omnichannel approach. According to CEO Craig Menear, sales for the fiscal year 2019 were $110.2 billion, up 3.5% from $108.2 billion in 2018.
PETCO rolled out BOPIS in 1,500 stores across the country in 2018. They filled 100,000 BOPIS orders in the first month and saw a 5% net increase in new customers and eCommerce revenue.
Nordstrom started using BOPIS in 2019 to gain new market share while driving customer engagement and inventory efficiencies. Nordstrom’s digital sales grew 7% in the third quarter, representing 34% of the business.
Dollar General introduced DG Pickup in 2019 under the slogan, “Get in, out, and done even faster.” By the first quarter of 2020, the company had increased sales by 27.6% to $8.4 billion.
Lowe’s home improvement stores deployed BOPIS in 2019 to help customers get in and out of the store faster, streamline the customer experience, better manage inventory, and increase sales. Lowe’s Executive Vice President of Sales Joseph McFarland reports that the company has seen 60% of its online purchases picked up at local stores.
BOPIS in a Post-COVID Environment
During the pandemic, customers were forgiving of BOPIS errors. However, in a post-COVID environment, expectations are bound to change. Customers may no longer rely on BOPIS solely as a safety precaution, but instead, they expect the technology to help them manage numerous activities throughout the day. Therefore, businesses are turning to solutions such as the Ombori Grid BOPIS.
Ombori Grid’s BOPIS solution works with existing e-commerce infrastructure and can be deployed quickly and easily. It is fully configured and operates efficiently to streamline the BOPIS process. Here are some additional highlights of the Ombori Grid BOPIS solution:
- Configure pick-up slots: It allows businesses to determine the number of pick-up slots, the frequency of pick-ups for each location, and the hours that pick-up is available. For example, a business might allow five pick-ups every 30 minutes or one every 15 minutes, Monday through Friday.
- Book pick-up slots: The customer can choose a convenient pick-up time as part of the checkout process, either online or via a mobile app. Staff receives the order and pick-up time for fulfillment. Then the customer receives confirmation on their mobile device that indicates where and when to collect the products and any other necessary details.
- Reschedule appointments: If the customer needs to reschedule their pick-up time, they can do so via their mobile device. Updated information is then passed along to the staff. Staff can also reschedule appointments, if necessary, so customers are not kept waiting unnecessarily.
- Receive customer notifications: When an order is ready, the customer receives a notification on their mobile device. This reminds them that they need to go to the store for pick-up.
- Confirm arrivals: Upon arrival, the customer uses their mobile app to tell staff they have arrived.
- Find pick-up locations: Digital signage and Wayfinders at store entrances or inside the store help customers locate the pick-up station.
- Provide customer identification: When the customer arrives, staff can verify their identity via the confirmation on the mobile device. This allows staff to ensure they have the right customer.
- Complete deliveries: Once the customer has received their items, the delivery is marked complete, giving them an audit trail for all BOPIS orders.
Insider Intelligence estimates that U.S. consumers spent $72.46 billion via click-and-collect shopping in 2020, which accounted for 9.1% of all e-commerce sales. This year, those figures are likely to increase to $83.47 billion and 9.9%, respectively.
While the pandemic has resulted in significant tragedy and loss, it has had some unexpected benefits. Thanks to BOPIS and BOPAC, consumers no longer have to create shopping lists, search for items in-store – only to discover they are no longer in stock, and wait in long checkout lines. What was once necessary for businesses to meet pandemic regulations has become essential for maintaining revenue as consumers continue to use click-and-collect shopping in 2021 and beyond.
Rui is COO of Ombori Grid. Before joining Ombori in 2017, he worked in Beijing, Tokyo, Silicon Valley and Zagreb before ending up in Stockholm. He previously spent nine years in R&D at Ericsson as Operative Product Owner, and is a highly skilled leader in IT and communications with a successful track record of working closely with both stakeholders and management.