What You Need to Know About BOPISBOPIS, the acronym used to shorten “buy online, pick up in store,” has been a hot-button topic in the retail and grocery world as of late. The model, which has been revolutionized by major players in the market such as Amazon and Petco, is readily becoming adopted as an industry standard. In a brick-and-mortar quest to fight off the negative effects of eCommerce, BOPIS provides a new option: embrace the flexibility of online shopping. 

Here’s what you need to know:

Growing Rapidly

According to eMarketer, “Last year, the number of locations offering ‘buy online, pick up in-store’ nearly doubled among leading US grocery retailers.” 

Furthermore, according to a recent study by Retail Touchpoints, 66% of shoppers have chosen to take their business to a store that utilizes BOPIS in the past six months. The main reasons being to avoid shipping fees (86% of shoppers); flexible pick-up times (85%); and being able to examine their purchase in-store before leaving (77%). The study also mentioned that 86% of retail companies are planning to expand towards offering a BOPIS option within the next year!

Taking all of this data into account means that unlike some other emerging technology trends, this one is likely here to stay for a very, very long time. For physical retail and grocery to grow, it needs to be able to provide new benefits that reward customers for their efforts to visit the store. 

Online shopping will not be going away anytime soon, but BOPIS gains a competitive advantage in factors like trust and cost savings that eCommerce simply doesn’t have. 

Unified Inventory, Increased Foot Traffic, Lower Costs

For years, online shopping has caused retail to close down store locations across the country. One of those reasons was lower foot traffic. The other – costs associated with maintaining both a shipping inventory and an in-store inventory. 

BOPIS solves both by unifying inventory and bringing more people into physical locations. 

It’s a shining example of how technology infrastructure can reinvent the way brands do business by quickly adapting to the needs of a changing world. The convenience that this option brings to the consumer, mainly being able to skip shipping costs and examine items at pickup, is an attractive offering to individuals tired of being let down by an online purchase. 

These factors strongly encourage patrons to come in physically, often leading them to peruse the aisles and potentially buy more items than they would have strictly through shopping via an online model. Additionally, since online and retail inventory will now be in a shared location, using the BOPIS model, businesses save considerable time and money by only having to manage one inventory system. 

Streamlined Returns

BOPIS brings with it another crucial advantage when compared to eCommerce – Buy Online Return In Store (BORIS). What makes this such a positive value add for the consumer is having the convenience of being able to return an item at a moment’s notice, without the hassles of packaging and paying for it to be shipped back to the consumer. 

For example, if you buy an item online that costs $10, but decide to return the product, you may need to pay money to actually send it back to the seller in order to receive your refund. If that shipping costs you, let’s say, $4, then you’re now in the hole financially compared to when you started. You just paid to take a look at and return a product – Something nobody wants to do. BORIS circumvents that dilemma by enabling customers to easily, quickly, and efficiently return a product without paying an extra penny. 

It gives shoppers another chance to walk around the store and possibly find a replacement they’d prefer to pay money for. With eCommerce, when an item gets returned, there usually isn’t a secondary purchase that comes afterwards. With BORIS, there’s a very real chance your shopper may take that $10 they were refunded from the return, and spend it on another item that meets their needs. Retailers are still working out the details on how to smoothly roll out in-store returns after online purchases, but in our opinion, this trend is definitely here to stay.

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