In an effort to integrate eCommerce and brick-and-mortar operations, many retailers are adding buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) services. Retailers are adding these capabilities even if they aren’t perfected. While customers seek out this service, they still aren’t completely satisfied with it yet.
iVend Retail reported that nearly 57% of all shoppers use this omnichannel service, but only 31% describe it as being a smooth process.
92% of North American shoppers say they regularly shop across multiple channels. Buy online, Pickup In Store is an important part of the customer experience for multichannel shoppers, but retailers are still falling short. See why BOPIS is important to customers and how you can improve your processes to impress your customers.
Why Customers Want to Buy Online, Pickup In Store
Despite wanting more from retailers, customers continue to seek BOPIS services from them. Customers cited these main reasons for wanting to pick up an online order in store:
- 65% to avoid shipping costs
- 29% for convenience
- 23% for being able to return the product instantly if it doesn’t meet their expectations
As customers become more accustom to this service, they will expect all retailers to provide it.
Why Retailers Should Provide Buy Online, Pickup In Store Services
A major reason to provide BOPIS for your customers is to create a better customer experience. BOPIS at its finest combines the two best advantages of online and offline shopping. It allows customers to quickly research and buy online, while picking up in store provides that instant gratification of touching and receiving the product. This is the type of seamless experience customers are looking for while shopping across multiple channels.
BOPIS can also help increase your sales. It gets more customers to set foot in the store and have the opportunity to make another purchase. 46% of online shoppers who have shipped an online order to the store for pickup have made an additional purchase in store during their trip. It’s a cross-selling opportunity that retailers should want to take advantage of.
Lastly, BOPIS can help you compete – and win – against the formidable foe Amazon. BOPIS is something that Amazon can’t currently execute because they don’t have any extensive physical stores. (They are just starting to experiment with Amazon Go stores and WholeFood stores for groceries.) While customers may research items on Amazon, they’ll have to buy from you if they want to pick up the item right then. If you have an advantage over Amazon, you should flaunt it.
Learn more about why retailers need buy online, pickup in store services.
How Retailers Aren’t Meeting BOPIS Customer Standards
Once you provide it, you need to be able to execute it. And right now, retailers are missing the mark. The stat says it all above, only 30% of customers who have used BOPIS have found the process smooth.
To give you an idea of where retailers are falling short, Kibo and Multichannel Merchants sent mystery shoppers to 30 retailers to test out their buy online, pickup in store services. Almost all retailers (90%) did well in having the order ready for pickup, but didn’t too well in other areas:
- Only 17% of retail apps displayed in-store inventory quantities
- 58% of apps didn’t promote the in-store pickup service
- Only half of retailers had signage in their stores directing customers to BOPIS locations
- Only 7% of store associates tried to save the sale when the customer requested a return or exchange
These shortages indicate that retailers still have room for improvement when integrating their online and offline sales channels.
What Retailers Need to Do to Improve Buy Online, Pickup In Store Services
BOPIS isn’t easy for retailers. It takes the right technology and strategy. If you want to undertake better processes for BOPIS, focus on these main areas.
Using the Right Technology
First, you must use the right technology. Your online and offline systems must be integrated so that they are aware of each other. However, it’s not as simple as telling your IT team to connect all your systems to accomplish this. For BOPIS, you need to:
- Connect your store inventory with your website
- Sync store inventory across all your stores
- Communicate your web and stores sales across both channels
Your POS and eCommerce (and your ERP, if you have one) must be able to talk to each other. This is difficult because they both handle data in a different way. Most retailers use a multichannel integration platform to make this happen. A platform like this centralized all your data so you can sync and share it among all your system. Check out nChannel’s platform to see how something like this works.
Taking Advantage of Mobile
Second, retailers need to take better advantage of mobile apps. These stats show that companies are still building their eCommerce strategy based on desktop rather than on mobile. According to Mark Price of LiftPoint Consulting, Inc, mobile may very well represent the greatest revenue opportunity for retailers. We already know that consumers use online apps in the store, thus connecting online and offline channels together. So, don’t forget the important role that your app can play for the BOPIS experience.
Training Sales Staff
Sales staff must be equipped to serve these online buyers coming into the store. They should be trained to handle these orders differently. As mentioned, some customers will want to immediately return the product, if not up to their standards. Sales staff should be trained to save the sale, or direct customers to a different product. Some experts have recommended providing associates with incentives/bonuses or commissions on these orders specifically.
Enriching the In Store Experience
Once in store, customers should have no problem finding the BOPIS location. In-store signage should direct them where to go so they don’t get frustrated. In some cases, retailers are offering curbside pickup to speed the process up even more. Consider what works best for your store.
As BOPIS continues to be an important part of multichannel shopping, retailers need to up their game to ensure it’s a great experience. It’s no longer enough just to provide the service. Offering a smooth process is difficult, but can be done if you focus on these main areas.