While online shopping has certainly increased in the past year, more important is the way a consumer moves between channels based on what she is buying, her budget, and how urgent her needs are. As of 2016, most consumers use at least six channels to make their purchase decision, so the retail industry is more pressured than ever to think about how it can support all these various preferences. While it would be nearly impossible to cover every scenario, a retailer can focus on facilitating a few specific shopping behaviors in order to ensure that they are the preferred choice of customers. One of the most popular of these behaviors is Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store, or BOPIS.
What Is BOPIS
BOPIS is the quintessential example of modern shopping: the customer has used your website to place her order, but for one reason or another, it suits her more to pick up the item herself at a nearby store location. In other words, while she may have purchased her item online, the fulfillment of the order will actually take place in-person - and this fulfillment option may be why she bought from you in the first place. In fact, according to Big Commerce, 50% of US shoppers chose to purchase from a brand specifically because they offered in-store pick-up.
Why You should Cater to the BOPIS Customer
BOPIS truly benefits everyone. For the customer, it creates more optionality, eliminates shipping costs, and allows her to retrieve her items at a time that's most convenient for her. The retailer benefits too: the customer is now prompted to walk into your store, creating an additional sales and marketing opportunity. In fact, in one survey from 2019, 49% of respondents said they made an unintended purchase while picking up an item at a store. BOPIS also likely eliminates the cost of shipping for you just like it did for the customer. BOPIS is part of a growing family of services and offerings catering to the multi-channel shopper; the more of these services you can support, the more favor you'll curry with your audience.
Similar to BOPIS, many stores are now offering curbside pick-up - the more COVID-friendly version of BOPIS that does not require customers to actually enter the store. With either offering, it's important to not only support this fulfillment option logistically, but also promote the option to your customers through your marketing channels.
Examples of BOPIS in Retail
Whether you were offering BOPIS before Coronavirus hit or are just starting to consider the option now, below are some key examples to look toward to determine what kind of experience is right for you. The BOPIS experience actually spans both the ordering and the retrieval experience: your customers need a way to indicate their preference for in-store pickup online, and also have a positive experience picking up their item at the store. It's important to focus on providing transparency with how your BOPIS program works and delighting customers with the overall experience in order to increase your customers' loyalty for the long haul.
When Nordstrom launched Nordstrom Local, the concept seemed entirely counter to the reason department stores exist - beyond being small in square footage, Nordstrom Local stores don't actually sell anything. Instead, they are entirely designed around services, including picking up online orders. There are now five Nordstrom Local stores across New York and Los Angeles, largely located in residential areas instead of popular commercial streets and they've proven to be a powerful way to boost transactions and customer satisfaction.
Lululemon's BOPIS experience is available through its website and its mobile app, enabling customers to pick up items the same day they order them from a nearby location rather than having items shipped to them. They also now offer it in a contactless format due to COVID. Once a customer places an order for in-store pickup, they are informed via email of what hours they are able to pick up their purchases. Customers are required to show either ID or a confirmation email in order to actually receive their items once they are at the store.
Not only does The Reformation fulfill orders for specific products through a local store, e-commerce visitors can actually filter the brand's entire web inventory based on what is available immediately for store pick-up near them. This feature is particularly handy because it caters to customers who are likely most ready to buy and have an urgent need.
Home Depot also allows its website visitors to search for the items based on their same-day availability at a local store. When you're a major retailer, there can be a huge discrepancy between your online inventory and your in-store availability, so providing this level of clarify for shoppers dramatically streamlines their purchasing decision.
Offering BOPIS with Endear
As you think about your BOPIS strategy, you ought to consider Endear's centralized messaging system to ensure your customers always have a person to reach out to about their orders. By providing them with an easy way to get in touch with your store team, they can stay updated on when to come by and also reach to the store if they have any questions about logistics or specific items. Your store team can also use the customer's visit as an opportunity to cultivate a closer relationships that lead to more purchases in the future.