Like most people, our family does quite a bit of online shopping. The convenience of home delivery is paramount considering our work and social schedules. However, there are times we visit the local grocery or hardware stores -- these are usually considered unplanned events or urgent needs. When we recently decided to reorganize our pantry, we decided we needed some cool containers. Our default shopping site, Amazon, seemed to have limited choices and we discovered the Container Store. Container Store’s wide assortment of organizational products wooed us, and we placed an online order with them. Once we realized that the shipping options were too late for our urgency and we chose to pick up our order in store. Here’s where the experience of customer delight started, and I’d like to break it down into ordering experience and pick up experience.
Here are some highlights from the ordering experience:
- Once you choose the quantity of a product, the delivery details update to free-shipping, same-day delivery, or pick up in store options based on the zip code entered.
- The pick up in store option shows the nearest store and their local inventory along with in-stock availability.
- Should you choose a quantity that’s more than the store’s in-stock quantity, the pick up in store option updates with a new date when the product will be available for pick up.
- Once I decided to check out, the site confirmed my pickup in store option and confirmed to move toward the checkout experience as either a guest or a signed in user.
- Upon my choice of the guest user, the check out shows the pickup location of the store and provides me the two pick up options:
- Pick up the order’s current in-stock items on a specific date and time, and choose to pick up the remaining order on a different date and time. What I loved about this is they made room to acknowledge the intent and urgency of the user.
- If you’re like me, you’d want to pick up all at one time, and they did offer this option too. Again with a specific time, date and location confirmation communicated.
- The very next step is to confirm the contact details of the person who will be picking up. This feature is especially crucial for a family where one spouse orders and other one picks up. They also offer you the option to receive a notification upon availability to pick up this eliminating the need for me to add a reminder to my calendar.
- And check out ensued.
Once the order was placed an order confirmation with clear pickup instructions is sent to my email. And the ordering experience is complete!
Now let’s talk about the pickup experience. The pickup experience starts right from the order confirmation email. In the order confirmation email, there’s a clear indication of time to stop by the store with a couple of options.
- Drive by and pick up
- There’s a URL embedded in the email that you’re supposed to click to let the store know that you’ve arrived. As long as you’re in the passenger loading zone, the store folks come over and drop off your entire order.
- All of these instructions including the passenger zone item were clearly articulated in the email.
- In-store pick up
- If you do decide to do an in-store pickup, all you’ve got to do is click an alternative URL provided in the email to let them know where in the store you are located, and a store associate will bring your order to you.
- Counter pick up
- Last but not the least, if you do show up at the counter and let the folks at the counter know that you have an order to pick up, they will get it for you.
In my case, my order was not ready due to additional items not being available at the store. The store contacted me about this and rescheduled my pick up time and date over the phone, sending me confirmation messages and new details over text messages. I did then show-up and picked up my order at the counter.
At the counter, I was given a receipt where the store associate let me know that if I needed to make a return, that could all be handled in-store as well, not a thing to do online.
The entire order experience was delightful from start to finish. Some of the highlights that stood out to me include:
- Clear communication about the availability of in-stock store options,
- the flexibility of pick up with a set date and time.
- Catered to the urgency of immediate pickup needs and allow customers to pick up the available stock in store, ASAP.
- Included a designated pick up person option along with an option to notify them of availability to pick up.
This entire pickup experience, the various convenience options, including different varieties of pick up options, management of exception cases (including store return of an online order) was excellent. I am now a die-hard fan of the Container Store experience!
As BOPIS continues to make its presence known and stake claim within the e-Commerce market, companies will benefit from planning for this experience sooner rather than later. As recently as the Oracle Commerce Cloud 19A Release, we see e-Commerce platforms reacting to include BOPIS functionality. Partnering with a team who knows not only their way around the technology but also ways to leverage the design and processes behind the scenes are paramount to creating an effective, scalable, and delightful BOPIS experience. Contact us.
About the Author
Rohit (Roy) Nallapeta heads pre-sales consulting for Object Edge. Previously he has held various positions as a product manager, delivery lead and business analyst at Object Edge. His experience spans retail, banking, healthcare, and eCommerce areas. He contributes to this blog on subjects of eCommerce, retail and technology trends.