In researching the data on holiday sales data for the year, I was really struck with how well BOPIS performed.
Consumers, not wanting to wait to receive their Cyber Monday orders, chose to pick them up at the bricks and motor locations in their cities, instead of waiting for a shipper to deliver. In fact, Cyber Monday conversions at BOPIS retailers outperformed non-BOPIS retailers by 45 percent in 2019, according to Adobe.
So, what is BOPIS, you ask? BOPIS is an acronym standing for Buy Online Pick-up In Store.
How Does BOPIS Work?
While you may have heard of BOPIS, you might not have a clear idea of what it really is.
Let’s make it easy:
Bricks and Mortar Retailer + Online e-Commerce Presence + Store Pick-up Option in Checkout = BOPIS
In other words, BOPIS doesn’t work for stores that have an online storefront only. For retailers that have both an online and physical storefront, BOPIS is simply an additional shipping option that appears during online checkout. Individuals can add items to their cart online and complete the checkout process normally, choosing the shipping option to pick up their order in-store. When their entire order is ready for pickup, they’ll get a notification and can pick up their order at any time the store is open.
BOPIS In The Real World
There have been times that I have been in the market for electronics, or computer parts. I will do my research online, narrow down what I am going to purchase, but, let’s say my router has stopped working in my office and this is creating down-time for me and my clients. I need this new router NOW. I hop on the Best Buy site, and find that I can pick it up on one hour. Even if it costs a little more than the same one on Amazon that ships tomorrow, I am purchasing on Best Buy.
One Advantage of BOPIS – Who Says You Can’t Compete with Amazon?
If you can solve real world problems by marrying e-Commerce tech with real world geography, you can capture sales, even when you cannot, or do not, compete on price.
In the case above, my e-Commerce order was filled with stock in the store. A store associate received my online order, went out to the shelf and grabbed it. It was ready at customer service when I arrived. I showed them my receipt and walked out. Super simple.
However, as you can see in this screenshot from the Best Buy e-Commerce site, there is another router that I was interested in. Had I not been in a rush, I could have waited a week and picked it up from the store then.
Benefit of BOPIS for Your Customer
The second scenario is when an item is not in stock at a local store, but a customer still chooses to have the item shipped to that store. In this second scenario, the customer may have to wait a few days until their order is ready for pickup.
You may ask why someone might want this, instead of having it shipped to their front door. I can think of several real world reasons this is more attractive.
- You get to choose when you retrieve the item, rather than sitting at home waiting for the shipper to arrive.
- The item doesn’t sit on your front porch, open to theft.
- You live in an apartment complex that doesn’t handle online order boxes well, or at all.
Another Benefit of BOPIS: Foot Traffic
Remember my Best Buy story? I went to pick up my router and on my way to customer service, I saw a display of brand new phone cases. I remembered that my son needed a new one and his birthday was coming up. Guess what I did?
Buy Online Pickup In-Store, by its very nature, brings the customer into the store itself. While the name of the game with BOPIS is enhanced convenience, it also increases foot traffic within your brick and mortar location. This is a benefit to retailers that have been struggling to find effective methods to increase the number of customers that are walking through their aisles.
The Icing on the BOPIS Cake: Curbside Pickup
If your business can offer curbside pickup, where customers park in specifically designated parking spots near the entrance to the store and a store associate brings their order out to them, you have made BOPIS practically frictionless.
The Moral of the BOPIS Story
Customers are really looking for convenience and speed. In other words, online shoppers are looking for a shopping experience that offers as close to instant gratification as possible, with as little hassle as possible. Brick and Mortar stores who implement BOPIS are offering their customers the convenience of shopping anywhere, anytime, with the speed of being able to pick up their orders.
With exciting innovations to BOPIS on the horizon, including buy online, pickup in locker, the convenience of in-store pickup options will only continue to increase as the process is improved.
What has your company done to collapse the boundaries between the two storefronts in order to offer a seamless shopping experience for your customers?