BOPIS: The new age technique of omnichannel retail

The term “OmniChannel” keeps popping up quite often, isn’t it?

Ever since e-commerce or online retail has spawned, it has been a tough journey for traditional retailers.

The Brick-and-Mortar ones.

Globally, customers have started the trend of doing purchases online as the years passed.

And today, an online presence is a key factor for growth.

Why?

For the simple reason that the new generation spends time here.

people on social media

And that number keeps increasing.

Today almost all the physical retailers have their own website.

Here’s where it gets tricky.

Having a phytigal (physical + digital) presence is good, but maintaining them separately is a challenge.

There are many challenges here, to name a few,

Pricing

Do you keep the same prices or different?

Lack of inventory

How do you manage product stocks and allocate it for both channels?

Supply chain

If the various supply chains of a company cannot work in tandem, it will ultimately cause customer dissatisfaction.

Order fulfillment

If the order is for same-day or next-day delivery, the retailer needs to keep that promise.

The right method of transportation

There are various ways to deliver a product to the customer. But a retailer needs to find the right one.

One that is cost-effective and time-saving.

Returns

Like the delivery process above, the return process should also be seamless and quick.

This is where BOPIS comes into the picture.

What is BOPIS?

It stands for Buy Online Pick In Store.

Also called Click And Collect.

click and collect

How does it work?

Customers do their shopping online.

They arrive at the store.

They pick up the order or items that they bought online.

What’s the catch here?

Well, there is none.

Ok one maybe, you need to have an online presence and connect it with your physical store.

What is good about BOPIS?

For customers,

They can skip the physical check out process.

Completely.

checkout queue

Thereby saving a lot of time.

Here is how it works:

You place an order online.

You drive to the store.

You park in the dedicated BOPIS parking slots – this is convenient to get in and out.

You enter the retail store.

You go directly to any of the counters.

You show the online bill.

You collect to items (and check if they are correct).

And you’re done.

Bonus catch:

You also skip the delivery charges.

Regardless of the order value.

This is even more helpful if you are driving home from work.

So you have the whole day to order online.

On your way back, you can pick up your items.

If an item is not the one you ordered, you can have it replaced right at the moment without any hassle.

If an item is out of stock, you will be notified of its arrival.

And you can pick it up yourself or have it delivered.

You can reserve a product online to be tried in-store.

You can select any store, not just the nearest one.

For retailers, the benefits are,

1. Substantial reduction in delivery charges

delivery

Boom! That. Is. Savings.

Retailers spend a substantial amount on logistics.

In 2017, Amazon lost over $7 Billion to delivery.

Yes, that’s correct.

BOPIS technique would certainly reduce that cost to an extent.

They can ship directly to the store and not to individual area codes that spice up the charges.

2. Additional in-store shopping

store shopping

This is one of the key advantages of BOPIS.

Retailers who have adopted this technology have seen that people who arrive at the store for online pick-up, almost always do additional shopping.

Either a planned, impromptu or a complementary one.

Retailers provide various options on BOPIS method.

Customers can choose their time slots, book appointments with personal shoppers, etc.

BOPIS also works for returns.

Any online-ordered items can be returned back to the physical store.

For a successful BOPIS implementation, what retailers need is

1. Customer data

customer data

With that, the retailer,

Can deliver personalized shopping experiences that increase

Engagement, conversions and, ultimately, loyalty.

2. Loyalty programs across channels

loyalty card

The online points can be transferred to physical shopping and vice versa.

3. Technology implementation

technology

Post understanding of customer behaviour, proper technology needs to be implemented for a seamless shopping experience.

4. Staff training

staff training

This is a relatively easy one and a must. Every employee should be well versed with the BOPIS method as each one can help the customers.

Top regions that have executed BOPIS are as follows,

Europe is leading in BOPIS implementation at 37% with US lagging a bit behind at 27%.

Country-wise,

The UK tops followed by France, Germany, Australia, and Canada.

Challenges

challenge

Like every other strategy, BOPIS too faces its own challenges.

It is found that retailers are struggling to fulfill the post-order part of the process.

That is,

Getting the orders ready for customer pick-up.

One reason for this is inadequate staff.

There should be an employee at all times to help with the BOPIS orders.

They should be properly trained in the process also.

And they should be able to complete this process as efficiently as possible.

If there is a shortage of labor, then automation may be required.

Notification

notification

This is another area where retailers need to improve.

They have to communicate the order update to the customers within the correct time slot.

The ideal time is to inform less than an hour before pick-up.

And to reduce the time on the entire process.

From placing the order to pick-up.

Pick-up location

location

It should be as easy as possible for the customers to pick up their orders.

Two things to be considered here:

1. If the customer only wants to collect his order and leave.

2. If the customer wants to do additional shopping, add it to the existing order and leave.

Elder people or middle-aged people would prefer the pick-up to be as close as possible.

Mostly at the front side of the retail outlet.

Top retailers with BOPIS include

walmart logo
bed bath beyond logo
best buy logo
home depot logo
kohls logo
macys logo
nordstrom logo
staples logo
target logo

Conclusion

One thing is clear:

The Internet will continue to be part of our lives.

As more and more activities are performed online.

It is easy for customers to shift their shopping online from physical.

Retailers need to understand that first.

And give importance on connecting digital and physical experiences to customers.

So that they become loyal.

No matter how and where they shop.

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