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BOPIS for retail

Aug 23, 2021

What is BOPIS for Retail and 5 Reasons Why Your Brand Needs To Take Advantage

BOPIS is one of the most essential services omnichannel brands can offer to stay ahead of competitors. Find out how to offer it at your store.

By Leigh Sevin, Co-Founder @ Endear

BOPIS – or buy online, pick up in-store – has quickly become a favorite option for customers. Leveraging omnichannel retail solutions to offer BOPIS can greatly enhance the customer experience, so your brand should be taking advantage of this wherever possible.

Keep reading to learn the basics of BOPIS for retail and 5 compelling reasons to offer the service to your customers.

What is BOPIS

Before we dive into the reasons why you should implement BOPIS, and how to do so, let’s start by defining the concept.

BOPIS stands for buy online, pick up in-store. It refers to the process and systems that allow a customer to place an order online, then pick up the items at your physical location. This is the focal point of modern shopping – while some people may enjoy browsing and transacting on the web, they may still want to collect the order in person.

Another important term to define is BORIS, or buy online, return in-store. This concept is very similar to BOPIS, only it facilitates the reverse transaction. In this scenario, a customer orders a product online and chooses to process the return in the store.

Implementing these solutions effectively requires your brand to master omnichannel retail. In other words, you need to be able to deliver the same experience regardless of whether your customers shop online or in-store, and these two channels need to speak to each other in order to make these services possible.

BOPIS & Curbside Pickup

When you think about BOPIS in retail, your mind likely jumps right to curbside pickup. That is because the two go hand in hand!

One of the best ways to enhance the customer experience is to offer curbside pick-up (one version of BOPIS), where customers can have their online order brought directly to their vehicle. Rather than requiring customers to walk into the store to collect their items, an associate can bring them out to improve processing speeds and reduce wait times. As of August 2020, over 40% of the top 500 retailers with stores were offering curbside pick-up.

Why has BOPIS Become so Important?

BOPIS has become an essential solution for retailers because customers want options. They want the freedom to choose to shop online and pick up their items in-store, and the global COVID-19 made this need even greater.

People still needed to buy groceries and other goods, but the fear of spreading the disease – and mandatory lockdowns – kept most individuals out of stores. However, BOPIS and curbside pickup options provided an easy solution to that problem.

According to research performed by McKinsey, 56% of shoppers intend to use BOPIS even after the pandemic has subsided. They have gotten used to the convenience provided by omnichannel retail, so this trend will not be dying down any time soon.

Another reason that BOPIS has gained traction is that it allows shoppers to leverage the convenience of online ordering while simultaneously avoiding shipping fees. Often consumers will fill up their shopping carts only to be steered away by the delivery charges. With BOPIS, they can place the order and simply pick it up in person at no extra charge.

Think about it – it allows them to save both time and money!

5 Reasons to Offer BOPIS

You may be wondering, why does my brand need to offer BOPIS? Isn’t online ordering or the in-store experience enough on its own?

Here are five valuable reasons why you should offer BOPIS to your customers: 

Customers Get their Items Faster

Perhaps the most compelling reason to offer BOPIS and BORIS solutions is that it allows customers to get what they need faster. It’s no secret that consumers love instant gratification – and BOPIS allows them to skip the wait and avoid paying shipping fees! Avoiding shipping fees was actually the most popular reason why customers opted into using BOPIS.

Same-day order fulfillment optimizes the customer experience and provides them with an easy and convenient way to buy the things they need – without spending all day at the store. 50% of shoppers have reported that the option of BOPIS has determined where the shop online. If you leverage your omnichannel retail systems correctly, you can create a frictionless process that gets as close to instant gratification as you can be, giving your brand a competitive edge.

Let Buyers See Your Brand In-Person

Although your website and app are a great way for you to virtually interact with your customers, nothing beats meeting your team face-to-face. When they come into the store to pick up their order, they can see your products and gauge the overall vibe of your brand – something that is nearly impossible to recreate online.

Allowing customers to get their online orders in-store allows them to see first-hand what your company is all about.

Benefit from Random Purchases

Another reason your business should be taking advantage of BOPIS is you increase the chances that a customer will make additional purchases when they walk into your store. The boost in foot traffic will directly correlate with the jump in your bottom line, as they browse your products in the store that they want to buy.

Studies have shown that 49% of consumers make an unintended purchase while they are picking up their online order in-store. Likewise, 75% of customers that have used BOPIS agree that they are more likely to make an additional purchase later.

That means if you are not leveraging BOPIS retail, you are leaving sales opportunities on the table!

Show Your Customers that You Value Their Health and Safety

One thing we have learned during the global pandemic is that consumers want to feel valued. Offering BOPIS options shows your customers that your brand values their health and safety – and that of your employees. 

Allowing them to pick up their orders in-store or at the curb eliminates the time they need to wait in line and risk exposure. Who wouldn’t want to buy from a brand that makes health and safety a top priority?

Foster Brand Loyalty

When you deliver a positive, smooth experience, you can foster brand loyalty. This will lead to repeat purchases in the future since customers trust your brand to provide the goods and services that they need.

In other words, if they know they can easily order online and pick up their purchase in-store, they will be more likely to do so again and again. Likewise, they will choose to buy from your brand over a store that does not offer BOPIS or BORIS.

How to Offer BOPIS

Offering BOPIS options requires you to develop an omnichannel retail strategy. The process generally flows like this:

  1. The customer makes a purchase online or in the mobile app
  2. The store receives the order and prepares the items
  3. The store notifies the customer that their order is ready for pickup
  4. The customer arrives at the store and collects their purchase

While these steps might seem rather straightforward, there is a lot more that goes into this process. Everything from real-time inventory tracking to an effective online store is needed to offer BOPIS. You want to ensure that the process is efficient and seamless, so take the time to emphasize customer service and convenience.

What you Need to Offer BOPIS

To develop a successful BOPIS strategy, you first need to have the right infrastructure in place. For example, you need to have an online presence and a physical storefront to make it work. 

The online website or application should be easy to navigate and user-friendly. It also needs to provide real-time visibility into what products are available – and in which stores – so that your customers know where they can find the items. Remember that the goal is to maximize convenience and to create a seamless experience!

If you want to provide real-time visibility, your brand will need technology that delivers current inventory information to the customer. Everything from order statuses, cycle time, workflows, and customer engagement should be linked and automated. This is especially important if you have multiple locations.

When your customers arrive to pick up their online orders, you should have a designated spot for them. Whether it is a section of the parking lot reserved for curbside pickup or a window at the front of your store, it should be clear where their order is waiting.

Lastly, you need to train your staff to execute BOPIS orders and how to maximize the customer experience. Consider the staffing requirements needed to support options like curbside pickup, as well as the training required to get new employees up to speed with your inventory systems and processes.

How to Make the BOPIS Experience Even Better with Endear

So, how can you make the BOPIS experience even better? The key is to personalize the process as much as possible so that your customers get exactly what they need.

For example, you can use Endear to customize your messaging and content instead of sending customers generic notifications. Tailoring the pickup experience to each customer will make the process seamless since they can easily reach out with questions and get real-time updates on their orders.

Likewise, you can also use the centralized messaging system to stay in touch with customers and develop a deeper relationship with them after they visit. Whether it’s giving them a direct point of contact for answering questions or telling them when to come by, this personalization will drive future purchases and brand loyalty.