Probably the most important trend to hit retail since eCommerce began taking market share has been the advent of “Buy Online, Pick Up In Store,” also known as BOPIS or BOPUS. This method of shopping blurs the lines between physical and internet purchases and allows retailers to regain foot traffic in stores during the midst of a decline in numbers.
The basic premise is that shoppers purchase their products from the convenience of their homes, and then save on shipping costs by opting to drive to a retailer’s location instead of having the item directly delivered to them.
But how do we convince today’s wary customer base of buying into this concept when they’ve been primed by giants like Amazon to live and die by the home delivery model?
Here are two factors that can help:
1. Time Savings
BOPIS isn’t only cost-effective for both the retailer and the consumer; it’s also a way to save a lot of time. The beauty of this model is that it often gives customers the chance to buy their item and pick it up in the same day – something that’s very hard for delivery models to compete with without making significant investments in infrastructure and supply chain.
For example, let’s say you want to order a new camera. Using an eCommerce site, you’d have to wait for the product to be located at a warehouse, sent to a distribution center, then again shipped across the country to your location.
Conversely, let’s say you bought the same camera through Best Buy’s BOPIS program. That camera is already located at your local store, and there aren’t a lot of extra moving parts needed to get it to you. All that’s necessary is to drive to the store, walk in and show your valid photo ID and/or pickup confirmation email. Depending on the stores BOPIS order fulfillment model, a team member will use the customer information to locate the order from the designated pickup area or automated locker pickup stall.
What would have taken at least a few hours for the most sophisticated of delivery models to accomplish, was executed in mere minutes, posing a high degree of convenience for the buyer.
2. Quality Assurance
Nobody likes waiting eagerly for a package, only to open it and find that the product didn’t live up to expectations. BOPiS eliminates that altogether.
With the added flexibility of being able to pick up in store, shoppers now have the ability to inspect their purchase and decide whether or not they still want to keep it. Unlike purely online shopping, where the returns are often met with additional shipping fees and hassle for the consumer, in store returns are just as easy as the pick up process was.
According to one study, a top reason why many shoppers abandoned their carts online was because of unacceptable return policies.
Simply put, there is a lack of trust on the part of the consumer that if they aren’t satisfied with their purchase, the seller would not make things right. Being able to pick up in-store gives buyers some reassurance that their needs will be met. There are real people manning the registers. Customer service is just a conversation away. No need for phone calls or emails to get things settled, since brick and mortar stores are set up to function as all-in-one hubs for what their customers need.
The Future of BOPIS
At the end of the day, eCommerce will always be around, and stores need to continue to innovate new and useful integrations that make life easier for their customers. BOPIS is a great start and marks the beginning of a new era for retailers.
At Worldlink, we’re at the forefront of IT infrastructure innovation. Our team of experts work with some of the largest brands in the country to develop effective improvements that have proven to boost efficiency and profitability.
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