Before the pandemic you’d be forgiven for not knowing what BOPIS is, but the acronym has entered the lexicon of retailers around the world as ‘buy online, pick up in store’ became the lifeblood of many businesses almost overnight as Covid-19 restrictions hit.
Whilst not a completely new concept, BOPIS in the UK was primarily reserved for the likes of Argos and supermarkets under the guise of ‘click and collect’ with Amazon making some inroads into the field with collection points located across the country in a hybrid version of the service. However, nearly 2 years after Covid-19 emerged, BOPIS is now commonplace across a wide range of retailers, both large and small.
While shopping online became a near necessity during various lockdowns, BOPIS was the first foray into purchasing online for an estimated 60% of consumers and more than half of shoppers select a retailer because they offer the service. It’s is a win-win for both customers and retailers, with turnaround times quicker than next day shipping for in-stock items. Now so commonplace, you may find it difficult to compete without it as for many consumers the convenience factor simply can’t be matched by a traditional retailer.
BOPIS is popular for many reasons, not least for safety, allowing for the vulnerable to collect purchases without entering busy stores. However there are many other reasons why customers will choose BOPIS over delivery or in-store shopping.
Convenience – The biggest benefit of BOPIS is convenience. Customers can place an order in the comfort of their own home and select a collection time to suit them. And in some cases they don’t even need to get out of their car to receive their order.
Collection is free – Customers like to save money on shipping, and in many cases will spend more per transaction when there is no delivery charge to pay, so you can expect to see a higher average order value over time.
Quick fulfilment – Providing an item is in stock, customers can benefit from almost instant fulfilment, limited only by your ability to pick and prepare the item for collection. Even Amazon can’t compete with that.
Peace of mind – When ordering online, there’s always a chance that the customer may change their mind or not like the item they have purchased, leading to costly returns and refunds. With BOPIS, a customer can decide at the point of collection if a product is not right for them.
Increased footfall – BOPIS gets customers to your store front where they are more likely to add items to their purchase, or venture in-store and buy something they have forgotten, leading to higher revenues.
BOPIS is a highly effective strategy to increase your retail sales and win business from your competitors. However, it’s not without its pitfalls. Here are some of the most frequently reported challenges:
Preparing products for collection – Ensure your processes are as efficient as possible and that you don’t overpromise and under deliver, leading to customer disappointment and a poor reputation.
Space for holding orders – You will need to identify a suitable space to hold orders for collection and, if you sell chilled or frozen items, you will need to maintain product quality whilst orders are waiting to be collected.
Space for customers – Ensure you plan your collection space to allow for safe queuing while maintaining social distancing and consider the impact on your regular in-store customers, whether your collection point is in-store or outdoors, for example in the car park.
Integrating in-store and online stock – If your stock isn’t synced, you could easily sell out of a product without realising, or undersell and miss out on additional revenue. Either way, you’re eating into your profits and risking unhappy customers.
Outdated technology – If your technology isn’t up to scratch, you will find it extremely difficult to manage BOPIS efficiently. Consider cordless scanners and mobile computers for picking and fulfilment and ensure that they are fully integrated with your POS system.
Adding BOPIS to your retail operation
If you’re ready to take the plunge, there are three prerequisites to getting your BOPIS offering off the ground. You will need:
- An eCommerce website or App
- At least one physical location
- Real-time stock syncing between online and in-store
At RMS, we can support your plans to offer BOPIS with our retail solutions. OpSuite retail management software has all the features you need for accurate stock management and effective retail POS while OpSuite Fusion can integrate your retail store with the most popular eCommerce website platforms. We also offer a range of hardware to support a BOPIS operation, including terminals and peripherals. For full details and lead times, please speak to a member of our expert team who will be pleased to assist with your plans to modernise your retail offering. Call us today on 0800 138 0050 or contact us here.