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BOPIS Retail: Embracing Buy Online, Pick Up In Store Services

23 Feb 2024

You've probably heard about the "buy online, pickup in-store" (BOPIS) or click and collect method, where customers order online and then pick up their items from your store. But if you're wondering how to actually make this happen in your retail shop, don't worry, you're not alone!

It can feel overwhelming at first, but understanding the best ways to implement BOPIS and the perks it brings is crucial. Otherwise, you might find yourself dealing with frustrated customers waiting for their orders because you're not prepared. So, let's get started and explore how to make BOPIS work for you.

What exactly is BOPIS in retail?

Well, it stands for "buy online, pickup in-store," and it's a game-changer for retail stores. Customers can purchase online from the comfort of their homes, and then swing by the brick and mortar store or a designated pickup spot once their order is ready.

This approach is perfect for retailers who operate both physical stores and ecommerce websites. By offering local pickup as an option at checkout, you're essentially bridging the gap between online shopping and the in-store experience, creating a seamless multichannel experience for your customers. Ultimately, BOPIS streamlines the buying process, making it more convenient for both retailers and shoppers alike.

How does BOPIS, or click and collect, actually work?

Now that you have a better understanding of what BOPIS retail is, let's talk about how it works. Here's the steps:

  • Customers place their order online: They browse your website or use your mobile app to make their purchase. During checkout, they select the time and pickup location for their items. Real-time updates on local inventory availability ensure transparency about when and where the products will be ready for pickup.
  • Retailers fulfil the order: There are two scenarios here:
    • If the item is in stock at the customer's local store, the retailer locates, packs, and sets aside the order for pickup. A notification via email or text informs the customer that their order is ready.
    • If the item isn't available locally, the retailer may source it from another store location or warehouse. Once the item arrives at the chosen pickup spot, the customer receives a notification.
  • Online shoppers pick up their order: Pickup can occur either as an in-store pickup or at a designated location, with some retailers even offering curbside pickup for added convenience. Customers can drive up, stay in their car, and have their order handed to them.

No matter the pickup method, clarity is crucial. From order confirmation to pickup instructions, the process should be straightforward for customers opting for BOPIS. This ensures a seamless experience from start to finish.

The rise of BOPIS

The growth of BOPIS, or click and collect, is undeniable, as evidenced by the following statistics:

  • According to Shopify, 59% of consumers are keenly interested in BOPIS-style shopping choices [1].
  • Insider Intelligence forecasts that click-and-collect retail sales will soar to $154.3 billion by 2025. Although the projected growth rate is slightly lower compared to the period from 2019 to 2022, the momentum remains robust [2].

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Advantages of BOPIS: For you and your customers

In today's fast-paced world, consumers crave convenience and value-efficient shopping experiences. Recognizing this demand, retailers are embracing the benefits of click and collect, integrating it into their operations to remain competitive.

Research conducted by The National Retail Federation highlights the shifting consumer preferences, with 83% expressing that shopping convenience has become more significant over the past five years. Moreover, 70% of respondents in the same study reported that BOPIS has enhanced their overall shopping journey [3].

For brick-and-mortar retailers, click and collect presents an opportunity to level the playing field against online giants like Amazon. By offering this service, you bolster your multichannel strategy while elevating the customer experience.

Benefits to retail store owners:

  • Increased foot traffic and sales boost: When customers swing by your store to pick up their orders, it opens up opportunities for additional purchases. As they browse through your physical store, they might discover new products or remember items they intended to buy, resulting in increased in-store spending. According to PYMNTS’ 2022 Global Digital Shopping Playbook: 47% of online shoppers admit to buying more items when retrieving their ecommerce purchases in-store or curbside [4].
  • Cost-efficient shipping: Shipping orders directly from your distribution centre to customers' homes can incur significant shipping costs. BOPIS allows you to consolidate shipments to your retail locations or pickup points. By having shoppers collect their orders from your store, you effectively mitigate last-mile shipping expenses.
  • Enhanced inventory control: Effective click and collect operations hinge on streamlined inventory management and real-time stock updates. By synchronising online and in-store inventory tracking systems, you gain the flexibility to fulfil orders from either your store or distribution centre, whichever is more expedient. This expanded inventory access grants you greater control and insight into available products in real time, facilitating improved inventory management practices.

Here's how your customers benefit from click and collect:

  • Elimination of shipping costs: Unless free shipping is offered for online purchases, shipping fees can significantly add to the total cost for online shoppers. Conversely, with BOPIS, customers can avoid these costs entirely by opting for in-store pickup or designated pickup points. This means they can save the money they would have spent on shipping fees, all while enjoying the convenience of online shopping.
  • Swift service: For customers in need of an item urgently, the option to buy online and pick up in-store provides unparalleled speed. Rather than waiting one to three days for delivery, they can have their desired product in hand within hours. In today's world of instant gratification, this expedited service caters to customers' desire for immediate gratification and overall customer satisfaction.
  • Assured availability: With click and collect, the retailer prepares and packs the customer's order before sending a notification that it's ready for pickup. This ensures a 100% guarantee that the desired item will be available when the customer arrives. No more disappointment due to out-of-stock items—what they see online is what they'll get in-store.
  • Efficient returns and exchanges: In the event that a product doesn't fit or meet the customer's expectations, returns or exchanges are swiftly processed through the click and collect system. Rather than enduring the hassle of shipping the order back, customers can conveniently handle returns or exchanges in-store, ensuring a quick resolution to any issues.

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Navigating BOPIS challenges

Let's face it, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. There are a few hurdles to overcome to ensure your BOPIS) model doesn't leave your customers scratching their heads or feeling let down. Let's chat about some of these challenges and how you can tackle them head-on:

Fulfilment speed and in-store space

Suddenly, everyone wants in on your click-and-collect action. Your BOPIS service is gaining traction, drawing in customers eager to experience the convenience of online shopping coupled with the immediacy of in-store pickup. While this surge in demand is undeniably exciting, it can quickly escalate into a logistical nightmare if orders start piling up and your store begins to feel like it's bursting at the seams.

With a flurry of click-and-collect orders flooding in, it's essential to maintain efficiency and organisation to ensure a seamless experience for both customers and staff. One effective solution is to designate specific employees to handle BOPIS orders exclusively. By dedicating a team to manage the fulfilment process from start to finish, you can streamline operations and prevent bottlenecks.

Furthermore, carving out a designated pickup area within your store is key to maintaining order amidst the hustle and bustle. Whether it's a dedicated counter or a designated section with clearly marked signage, creating a designated space for BOPIS pickups helps to minimise confusion and ensure a smooth flow of traffic. Customers can easily locate their orders without disrupting the regular shopping experience, while staff can efficiently manage the pickup process without impeding on other areas of the store.

Inventory synchronisation woes

If your online and in-store inventory aren't dancing to the same tune, you're setting yourself up for a headache with the BOPIS model. There's nothing worse than breaking the news to customers that their long-awaited item is out of stock after they've already clicked that tempting "purchase" button. To sidestep this scenario and keep your customers smiling, it's crucial to invest in robust inventory management tools like Epos Now's retail POS system.

With seamless synchronisation between your online and physical stores, you'll ensure that your inventory levels are always up to date across all channels. This means no more disappointed customers and no more missed bopis retail sales opportunities. By keeping everything in sync, you'll maintain the trust and confidence of your customers while delivering a consistently exceptional BOPIS experience.

Investment for BOPIS setup and management

BOPIS success doesn't come for free. Investing in the setup and management of BOPIS isn't a walk in the park. It requires dedicated staff to handle order fulfillment and ensure seamless operations. Consider expanding your team or bringing in specialists specifically tasked with managing click-and-collect orders. Yes, it's an investment, but the returns are well worth it in terms of maintaining exceptional in-store experiences. After all, the smoother the BOPIS process, the happier your customers—and the more likely they are to keep coming back for more.

Lack of customer awareness

You could have the slickest BOPIS setup in town, but if your customers don't know about it, what's the point? Spread the word far and wide with targeted marketing campaigns across email, social media, and even in-store signage. Let your customers know that the convenience of BOPIS and easy online orders is just a click away.

Maximizing BOPIS with retail POS solutions

Wondering how to supercharge your buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) game? Look no further than your trusty retail POS system. Here's how it can lend a hand:

  • Efficient inventory management: A robust POS system keeps your inventory in check across all channels, from your online store to your brick-and-mortar location. With real-time synchronisation, you'll never have to worry about overselling or disappointing BOPIS customers with out-of-stock items.
  • Streamlined order processing: Simplify BOPIS order fulfilment with intuitive order management features. From assigning orders to specific employees to tracking their status, a retail POS system ensures smooth sailing from purchase to pickup. Because a robust POS system does a lot more than just payment processing
  • Seamless customer communication: Keep your customers in the loop every step of the way with automated notifications. Whether it's confirming their order, notifying them when it's ready for pickup, or sending reminders, your POS system ensures clear and timely communication for a hassle-free BOPIS experience.
  • Omnichannel integration: Seamlessly integrate your online and physical stores with  POS software that supports omnichannel retailing. This allows customers to browse inventory, make purchases online, and opt for in-store pickup with ease, providing a cohesive shopping experience across all touchpoints.
  • Analytics and insights: Gain valuable insights into your BOPIS performance with comprehensive reporting tools. Track key metrics like order volume, pickup times, and customer satisfaction to identify areas for improvement and optimise your BOPIS strategy for success.

Delivering our final thoughts

In the world of retail, embracing innovation is key to staying ahead. That's where "buy online, pick up in store" (BOPIS) services come into play. While implementing BOPIS may seem daunting at first, the benefits for both retailers and customers are undeniable.

From increased convenience to streamlined operations, BOPIS offers a win-win solution. By understanding its nuances and addressing potential challenges head-on, you can create a seamless experience that keeps customers coming back for more.

So, whether you're just dipping your toes into the world of BOPIS or looking to enhance your existing strategy, now's the time to dive in. With the right approach and a commitment to excellence, BOPIS can be a game-changer for your retail business.

Liked this blog? Check out our additional resources including our retail experience guide, and our in store technology guide guide.

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