The Ultimate Guide to BOPIS: Buy Online, Pick Up In Store
Oct 1, 2020
10 mins read
There are two big pieces of news in the US to start with!
First, one from Amazon was doing rounds last month. Amazon started offering customers $10 to pick up a purchase rather than delivering it to their doorstep. There were two reasons behind it. One for cutting home delivery costs and another for Amazon wanted to make its customers use Amazon pickup services they have never used in the past 12 months.
Read Also: Unit Economics in Last-mile Delivery
Amazon has been using Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods, and Kohl’s stores as their pickup points to provide this incentive for customers.
Another news was from Ikea a few months back, where it started providing BOPIS for its family loyalty program members to browse and reserve used furniture online. It introduced this service as an “As-is-online” service in 33 stores across the US in an attempt to contribute to sustainability.
Why are these news pieces making rounds?
A 2023 Global Digital Shopping Index survey mentioned that the US ranks first globally for consumers using BOPIS and curbside options. 37% more customers used pickup from their most recent purchase in 2022 compared to 2021. This shows that 16 million additional shoppers were using the BOPIS option in the US alone.
What’s so special about this BOPIS? And Why are consumers and businesses using it? Let’s dive in for the answers.
What is Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS)?
BOPIS is an acronym that stands for Buy Online Pickup In-Store. BOPIS, also known as the Click and Collect model, is an omnichannel retail fulfillment method where a customer purchases online and picks it up from an offline or physical store. It is an omnichannel model called Online to Offline (O2O) retail. This includes:
- BORIS – Buy Online and Return In-Store
- RORIS – Reserve Online Pickup In-Store
- BOPAC – Buy Online Pickup Curbside
Buy In Store for Home Delivery, i.e., showrooming
How does BOPIS work?
Ease and convenience have a significant role in making the BOPIS model work. Customers would like the option to pick up their orders whenever they want, and the click-and-collect model enables them to do so. Here’s how this retail fulfillment method works:
- Customer purchases the order online: The customer purchases by accessing the business’ website or the mobile app. The customer selects the time and pickup location before checkout. Inventory updates inform the customer about the availability of pickup.
- Order is fulfilled: If the item is available in a store, a notification in the form of an email or text is sent to the customer. In case of its unavailability, it must first be ordered from another store to the warehouse in question.
- Order is collected: The customer opts for either an in-store pickup or collects the order from a designated location. Curbside pickups, where the customer drives to the storefront and the order is handed to them, are popular too.
Why is BOPIS popular as a retail fulfillment method?
This selling approach has become popular because it allows retailers to continue selling and fulfilling customer demands with added convenience. Say that a customer orders groceries online while in her office. Rather than waiting for its delivery at home, wouldn’t it be great if she could pick up this order from a nearby outlet and return home? It’s this added convenience that the BOPIS model provides by seamlessly integrating online and offline channels.
Several e-commerce brands also use the BOPIS model to their advantage, leveraging local retail stores as same-day fulfillment centers for online shoppers.
A win-win for customers and retailers!
Apart from the sheer convenience that this order fulfillment system offers, several other factors draw customers to BOPIS. Some of these factors are listed below:
1. Minimum to zero shipping costs
One of the big factors for customers to opt for BOPIS is that it allows them to save on shipping charges. In the case the store does ask for a fee, it is minimal.
2. Quick service
Unless the item is not in stock, customers can immediately head to their local store to collect their package after placing the order.
3. In-stock insurance
The BOPIS order fulfillment method allows customers to determine whether the product fits their requirements when they visit the store. If it doesn’t, they can return it immediately, thus reducing the hassles of handling returns in an e-commerce model.
4. Seamless and convenient return process
While shopping online, consumers have to purchase a product without trying or testing them in advance. It causes high return rates in e-commerce. Instead of receiving the product at home and initiating a return via mail, BOPIS helps consumers to check the item on pickup and return them at the same visit if needed.
5. Minimizes cart abandonment rate
As BOPIS has zero shipping costs and ensures quicker fulfillment, customers can end the frustrating wait in pure online shopping and complete their buying journey with a checkout.
How Retailers can Reduce Cart Abandonment Rates in Online Shopping? Click here to find out!
6. Increases store traffic
The current rise in online shopping poses a great challenge for retailers to attract foot traffic to their outlets. By executing BOPIS as a fulfillment model, retail businesses can bridge the gap between online and physical stores attracting more shoppers to the store.
The BOPIS retail model is a win-win deal for customers and retailers. It makes store management more effective without worrying about crowded shops and long billing queues. It also helps reduce operating costs for retailers, as this model does not need shipping and doorstep delivery. At the same time, retail businesses have also seen an uptick in BOPIS sales as compared to in-store sales. This is because customers are likely to purchase more items when browsing inventories online.
Challenges in BOPIS fulfillment
Although BOPIS fulfillment is a convenient mode of selling, retailers must overcome some common challenges to ensure seamless pickup services and a happy customer experience.
Read Also: New Fulfillment models in Logistics
1. Real-time Inventory Management
Due to high or uncertain order volumes, retailers and e-commerce brands often find it difficult to keep the right inventory levels in stores. Shortage of in-store inventory can lead to a delivery promise going unmet. Storekeepers cannot simply carry on replenishing stocks with guesswork, especially when offering a BOPIS service.
2. Fast & Efficient Order Packaging
The definition of last-mile operations is slightly different in BOPIS selling compared to an e-commerce or home delivery service. The customer places an order and sets up a time for self-pickup. Usually, there is just about an hour or a couple of hours left for the storekeeper to pack the ordered items and prepare them for pickup. Customers expect fast, neat, and orderly packaging of orders, and even minor negligence can impact the shopping journey.
3. Managing Pick-Up Queues
Customers hate waiting in long queues, whether at a supermarket billing store or a self-pick-up counter. BOPIS retailers must have an efficient system in place to keep pickup queues moving fast and smoothly, such as having a designated area and even designated staff to deal with customers quickly. This is especially important to ensure fast deliveries during peak shipping seasons.
4. Notifying Customers about Order Status
During the short span between order placing and in-store pickup, it is essential to keep communication clear and accurate with the customers. Real-time visibility is a must-have in the BOPIS retail model, and businesses must establish a standard system to notify customers in real-time about their orders so they can plan their visit to the store accordingly.
5. Availability of fulfillment staff
Retail businesses hire additional employees to manage store traffic during holidays or peak seasons. This is because an additional inventory is available for online shoppers to pick up items from the store. As a result, it has to deal with a large volume of shoppers. So, a fulfillment method like BOPIS requires a dedicated workforce to pack, process and fulfill the orders before the customer arrives to pick them up.
6. Tight schedules for order dispatch
Another operational challenge for managing BOPIS orders is the tight schedules. During peak seasons like holidays, weekends, or festivals, a massive volume of orders will be placed. At this time, the shop has to manage 5-15 minute collection slots, giving the staff less time to get items packed and ready for their customers. Also, the team will have added pressure to ensure collection processes are optimized and shelves are restocked ahead of time to make the items available for the customers.
How does Artificial Intelligence help in BOPIS retail supply chain
With the help of Artificial Intelligence and data science capabilities, retailers can fill the gaps in BOPIS retail distribution and optimize last-mile journeys for their customers. Retailers can unlock the power of data science to observe customer shopping carts, seasonal trends, and market dynamics to offer more personalized BOPIS shopping offers. Analyzing and identifying customer shopping behaviors can also help retailers predict demands and keep the right stock levels to fulfill the customer.
Implementing a time-slot management system can help retailers allot specific pickup times to customers, avoiding unnecessary queues at one time and allowing store managers to plan the packaging of daily orders efficiently.
With the help of real-time fleet tracking solutions, retailers can notify customers about their order status, such as details of what time the order will be packed, what time it will be available for pickup, which store associate will be assigned for assistance, and more. This makes the whole pickup process more transparent and reliable.
Locus offerings for omnichannel order fulfillment
- Enabling efficient planning and execution: With the help of AI-driven logistics planning, businesses can easily manage their delivery operations. Locus’ customer experience and dispatch management platform helps with timely order scheduling, resource allocation, and route optimization, making last-mile planning fast and efficient.
- Finding convenient time slots: Locus’ time-slot management system allows logistics managers to plan last-mile operations more systematically. It lets customers to pick the most convenient time slots for their deliveries or home service requests.
- Real-time tracking of orders: Locus’ live visibility tool helps track orders in real time and provides live status updates to customers, improving supply chain visibility and keeping customers satisfied.
- Personalizing customer experience: With Locus’ advanced data analytics and insights, businesses can offer customers better, more personalized services. It also allows decision-makers to stay on top of market trends.
BOPIS selling is the new normal for retail businesses, and excellent customer service is the true litmus test for sellers to stand out in the market. Using AI-powered technology to overcome the last-mile distribution problems in BOPIS selling can improve the shopping experience for customers and build a strong brand presence for retailers in the coming days.
Whether it is managing the time slots for fulfillment, sorting the parcels efficiently, tracking the order progress, scheduling orders, or allocating resources, Locus’ customer experience and dispatch management platform has been helping brands worldwide overcome their last-mile retail challenges. Its analytical insights with interactive dashboards help retail businesses track their performance and ensure their upcoming orders are fulfilled more efficiently than the previous orders, making BOPIS fulfillment more profitable.
Want your retail businesses to enable efficient BOPIS fulfillment? Schedule a demo!
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The Ultimate Guide to BOPIS: Buy Online, Pick Up In Store
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