June 19, 2019
BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) is a customer-friendly service that more B2B and B2C businesses are offering their customers. A recent survey of US shoppers showed that "over 68 percent of shoppers have made more than one click-and-collect purchase. In addition, 50 percent said they've actually decided where to buy a product online based on whether they can pick it up in-store." BOPIS buyers are looking to reduce their shipping costs, but also make additional in-store purchases when the go to pickup orders.
BOPIS is starting to gain traction with customers. Almost half of Home Depot's online orders and one third of Zara's orders in 2018 were BOPIS, according to Adobe and a CBRE report. There are logical reasons - this service combines the comfort and efficiency of buying online with the effectiveness of going to a location and getting the products at your convenience (sometimes in the same day), avoiding shipping costs and with no risk of “porch pirates” stealing your goods.
Although it seems the customer base is responding well to this type of experience, which bridges the online and offline worlds, it comes with a cost. There is definitely an upfront investment to be made in order to accomplish good results.
The key for a successful BOPIS implementation is to be paranoid with the Customer Experience, both online and offline. A lot of the unsuccessful BOPIS implementations have to do with poor customer experience, specially at the physical stores. Customers might drive all the way to a store just to find out that the order could not be fulfilled due to lack of local inventory, or to find out that the order had the wrong product mix. Other customer complaints have to do with long lines and difficulty to find where the pick-up spot is located at the store.
We like to think of BOPIS as the customer experience side of BOSS (Buy-Online-Ship to-Store). BOSS is the backend methodology behind BOPIS, where in the ideal world, online stores never run out of inventory. There are processes in the backend which ensure physical stores are fulfilled with the items they need and the BOPIS orders will be consequently fulfilled no matter what. A successful BOSS implementation has another positive side effect other than ensuring BOPIS is successful: it enables physical stores to carry less inventory.
Easier said than done, implementing BOSS / BOPIS might represent a significant investment and impact to the company systems and processes. It touches the eCommerce platform (both from a Design and from a functionality point of view), Order Management Systems, Inventory Management, WMS (Warehouse Management Systems) and more. It also impacts the physical stores layout, signage and the POS.
At the end of the day, offering BOPIS boils down to a strategic decision that has to be made at the company management level, looking at potential ROI figures and the competition in general.
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