In today's "want-it-now, get-it-now" society, a new option bridging the gap between retailers and shoppers is “Buy Online Pick Up In Store." BOPIS, as it's commonly referred to, has become a surprisingly popular medium for stores because it allows them to:
- Personalize their services: Small- and medium-sized retailers in particular can take advantage of knowing exactly when a client is coming in to pick up a purchase by offering VIP treatment. For example, a fashion retailer could select additional items or accessories that complement the garment the customer ordered online, while a restaurant could add a treat to the order based on past purchases.
- Help time-starved customers: Today's busy consumer doesn't always have time to browse a store to find what they want, and they certainly don't have time to make a stop only to discover a coveted item is out of stock. Retailers that offer BOPIS help give customers time back in their day by streamlining their errands.
- Allow customers to choose what works best for them: Retailers aim to offer choices to customers, and by offering a third shopping option in addition to delivery and in-store purchases, brands show they are interested in meeting customer needs and contributing to a more positive shopping experience.
The 2019 Global Business & Spending Outlook survey from American Express found that businesses believe customer-focused initiatives are essential, with 71% of global finance executives saying that “better meeting customer needs" is a top priority. BOPIS supports that desire as a "third channel." Customers can shop online, they can go to the store or they can use this hybrid option, whichever they prefer.
Reach your customers through effective marketing
Your first step to success is to make sure that customers are aware of your BOPIS option. Include prominent mention in your email marketing, on your social media channels, and of course, on your shipping page.
And while you want to market to everyone, make a special effort to engage your loyalty club members. Consider offering a small discount for those who agree to try the service and offer their feedback.
Best practices lead to a smooth BOPIS experience
BOPIS represents a viable opportunity to grow, and small- and medium-sized retailers have an advantage over large retailers that might have more challenges implementing logistics on the front line. Here are some ways brands can make the “pick-up" element of the BOPIS experience seamless.
- Communicate frequently with customers. Create a system for handling BOPIS orders once they are entered. You might first send a customer confirmation that you received the order and give them an estimated pick-up window, and then reconfirm once the goods are ready. This will prevent customers arriving without the items prepared.
- Create clear signage. Whether you intend to bring packages out to customers for curbside delivery or invite them in to retrieve their items, make it easy for customers to know where to park to pick up their goods, or where to queue inside. You don't want to risk potentially losing customers with a frustrating experience.
- Have staff dedicated to BOPIS. Since convenience is a driving factor for BOPIS, limited wait time is critical. Develop a process for removing goods from inventory once they are ordered and make sure that all staff know how to help BOPIS customers when they arrive. If possible, make this touch point extra special by having a dressing room ready if the client will be trying on clothing, or offer to wrap an item if the purchase is a gift.
- Offer a variety of payment options. Bring the theme of convenience all the way through to the last step: Make it easy for customers to pay by allowing them to settle the bill online before they arrive or offering a mobile device for easy payment on site.
With retailers constantly looking for any advantage to make it to the top of customers' lists, BOPIS is a buying channel you'd be wise to integrate.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue. It should not be regarded as comprehensive or a substitute for professional advice.