The retail industry continues to evolve with the times, and the growing popularity of the Buy Online Pick-Up In Store (BOPIS) sales model is contributing to the market’s rapid growth. BOPIS blends the best of physical retail with the online experience, which allows both brick-and-mortar and eCommerce sales to thrive. Still not convinced that BOPIS has ushered in a new era of the retail industry?
US consumers spent $72.46 billion via BOPIS in 2020, a staggering 106.9% growth rate from the year prior. And this model’s popularity is here to stay: by 2024, US BOPIS sales are projected to reach $140.96 billion. It's no surprise, then, that retailers are excited by omnichannel strategies that allow them to capitalize on the rise in eCommerce sales while leveraging in-store inventories and personnel.
But achieving a successful BOPIS model is easier said than done. All the efforts of your BOPIS initiative might fail or do more harm than good if you don’t have effective BOPIS software in place. In this blog, we will discuss all the points you must consider before choosing a BOPIS software solution.
1. Customer Experience
There's no point in offering a Buy Online Pick Up In Store model if your customers don't know about it, right? The first step in a successful BOPIS strategy is to educate your customers about this retail concept (which requires BOPIS software equipped to deliver this information).
Ask yourself the following questions to ensure your BOPIS software is top-notch:
Buying: Can users filter results to view BOPIS-only items? Can they easily find nearby stores with available inventory? Is there a clear button on the product detail page that allows customers to find the nearest store? Are shoppers able to save their default stores to reduce the steps needed for future BOPIS orders?
Notifications: Do customers receive updates on what information (ID/order number) they’ll need to pick up their items? Do they receive notifications when their orders are ready for pick-up?
Pickup: Do your stores have clear signage that guides shoppers to the pick-up location? What about exchanging items? Can they try their products before leaving the store?
2. Store Operations
The next part of a successful BOPIS strategy involves your employees. Your BOPIS software should integrate seamlessly with your in-store operations, or you can expect the entire initiative to fail. Make sure your software solution works with all your in-store technology and is intuitive to use so that you can quickly educate associates on its functionality and get them up to speed.
A best-in-class BOPIS order fulfillment mobile app empowers in-store associates and helps the BOPIS strategy run smoothly for customers and staff members alike. Associates can view the BOPIS orders that must be prepared for pick-up from their location and mark these orders as completed as soon as they are delivered to the customer, thereby eliminating long queues and other unnecessary delays or confusion.
Other considerations of an effective BOPIS model in-store include:
Space layout: How much real estate do you have in-store to devote to a BOPIS order pick-up desk? Where should it be located?
Staffing: What type of volume of BOPIS orders do you expect to generate? Do you need additional store associates to accommodate BOPIS orders?
3. BOPIS App to Storefront
In order to provide a seamless BOPIS experience to customers, retailers must prioritize a smooth user experience on the product detail page (PDP) of their eCommerce site. For example, it’s crucial to showcase real-time in-store availability for same-day pick-up directly on the PDP, because this is where customers make the decision to buy a product.
The BOPIS software you choose should offer a plug-in or app that can be installed directly on your eCommerce site. This app should showcase the list of stores that carry the inventory of the specific product on the PDP and allow the user to select the store for same-day store pick-up when adding the product to their cart.
4. Distributed Order Management (DOM)
Displaying the right information on the product detail page is important, but the back-end is even more important than the front end. A distributed order management system does the heavy lifting of integrating with your in-store POS, synchronizing brands’ real-time in-store inventory, and using APIs to publish inventory values to your website. A DOM plays the crucial role of a real-time inventory tracker across all of your store locations to cultivate a smooth and functional BOPIS strategy.
Picking the right DOM will make or break your BOPIS initiative. If you go with a vendor that can only provide updates every 5 hours, you risk having customers place orders online that cannot be fulfilled, because that inventory has since sold out at the location in question. Your Distributed Order Management system should provide the clarity and visibility you need to meet customer expectations, routing orders to the appropriate location based on actual data.
5. Inventory & Assessment Planning
Remember, you don’t need to start by offering BOPIS options for every product or product category. Test your BOPIS software by confining the model to a few stores or a few cities. This way, you’ll ensure you can meet the fulfillment needs of both online and in-store shoppers before expanding to other locations. Start with items you anticipate will sell more through a BOPIS model and, over time, analyze which products are most popular to plan future inventory accordingly.
BOPIS orders might consume all of your in-store inventory and your walk-in customers’ experience may degrade. An endless aisle approach is ideal for ensuring a smooth shopping experience and avoiding this degradation, as associates can take a customer’s order instantly and save the sale—even for items you don’t have in stock.
Another important aspect of your analysis should focus on key performance indicators (KPIs). By measuring average store footfall, order value, and online conversion rates, you will have a full understanding of which locations are benefiting most from the BOPIS model. This data will ensure your company generates the most lucrative return on investment for any future expansion.
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These five considerations are incredibly important when you are selecting a BOPIS software solution to ensure you set up an effective, user-friendly in-store pick-up initiative. If you want to get your BOPIS retail model right the first time, or you want help optimizing your current process, contact our omnichannel experts to set your business up for success.