If you’ve read the headline of this article, you already know what BOPIS – aka buy online, pick up in-store – means. This particular collection model may seem unnecessary to some shop owners, but if that rings true for you, we invite you to read on.
According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, over 50% of adult shoppers now use BOPIS, meaning it’s fast gaining popularity among the people who matter i.e. your audience.
BOPIS is more than a mere gimmick that gained popularity during the coronavirus lockdown. It’s on an upward trajectory, and it’s here to stay. The acronym is shorter than ‘click-and-collect’, but it essentially means the same.
Here’s why BOPIS is worth considering for your business.
Why buyers and sellers love BOPIS
If a product is in stock, your customer could have it in their hands in under an hour by ordering and opting to collect in-store. This is far quicker than delivery, even if an online retailer offers next-day options. Delivery charges are eliminated too.
Even if an item isn’t in stock, the customer gets to select a time and date for collection, putting them in control of the transaction. They can be alerted when their item is ready for collection via their preferred method of communication, meaning no missed deliveries or dashing home to get there in time to meet a courier.
If an item isn’t in-store, buyers can opt to carry on shopping and find an item that is in stock and available immediately. Or instead, they may choose to buy their original item and pay for delivery.
If customers don’t like a product, they can hand it back immediately too, avoiding the tedium of repackaging and returning. They also get the benefit of better customer service: a polite conversation and smile far exceed the sound of a package landing on someone’s doormat.
BOPIS gives customers options. They can shop online and pay for a delivery, shop on the high street, or combine the two and use click-and-collect.
Say a consumer is chatting to remote colleagues using conference call services. They’re all free that evening, so on a whim, they decide to go for dinner. One of them fancies a new pair of shoes but doesn’t have time to go shopping.
With BOPIS, they can browse your online store, find a pair in stock locally, jump in the car and pick them up. When the customer is in-store, they see a scarf they also like and buy that as well. They’re done in 40 minutes, have everything they need and can go out feeling and looking good.
Another option is curbside pickup. In this model, orders are hand-delivered or packed into the customer’s trunk while they wait. This is even better for customers who have busy schedules.
For sellers, the advantages are similar in that BOPIS combines two key sales channels – in-store and online commerce. If it’s a new customer, you get to onboard them via your omnichannel marketing strategy. You can monitor their browsing and shopping habits to personalize your marketing. You can offer discounts, special offers, loyalty schemes, and inform them of new products and services.
BOPIS also reduces the time and cost associated with shipping orders. Your customers are literally doing the work for you.
This is an opportunity to provide customer care too, promoting brand loyalty and encouraging return business. 80% of customers shop for other items when collecting BOPIS orders. This is a great chance to upsell and to remind customers of the pleasures of real-world shopping. The textures, sounds, and smells of your products don’t always come across as well on a computer screen.
How to implement BOPIS
To utilize BOPIS, you need a brick-and-mortar shop or warehouse and an online store or app. If you don’t already have an online store, they’re easier than ever to make. Drag-and-drop website builders can make attractive and efficient sites even if you don’t have a great eye for design.
When your customers come to collect their orders, it should be clear where they need to go. Install a designated counter or area for collections.
Depending on the size of your business, you may want to consider employing and training special staff to deliver BOPIS. Customers may arrive at unexpected or busy times. The nature of the service means they want their order quickly, so make sure your service is efficient.
Ensure your website works too. If an item is bought and the customer has opted for immediate collection, the item should be put aside straight away. Integrate your staff and your automated systems. If you’re struggling to understand SKU meaning, this is a system that can help track your stock and streamline your ordering policy. You might want to conduct some further research to see how it could help you.
Also, ensure that communications are clear and delivered via your customer’s preferred channel.
Getting the most out of BOPIS
BOPIS has caught on fast with the public, but your customers can’t use it if they don’t know about it. Advertise your service in-store, online, and via social channels. Utilize call center management and mention it in customer care calls too.
BOPIS is a customizable commerce option, and this is why it’s particularly suited to personalized and customized items. Engraved, inscribed, or printed products would not be available immediately if bought in-store. With click-and-collect, however, your customer can order an item and pick it up when it’s ready, rather than having to go to your store twice or hang around and wait for it. Make sure this option is available.
Depending on what products you sell, you could also integrate an augmented reality function. Your customers can then see your products in situ in their home, garden, or office before they buy online.
Putting customers first
The sheer level of competition in the marketplace has put consumers firmly in the driving seat. The upshot is that you must now offer as many options as possible.
Increasingly, consumers navigate their own user experience. Each transaction is tailored to their preferences and circumstances. A customer may opt to use a competitor not because their products are better than yours, but because their range of services is more suited to them.
Imagine a diner that only serves eggs hard-boiled. Their eggs are perfectly good, but their customers have no choice. Now imagine a cafe across the road which serves eggs hard-boiled, soft-boiled, fried, poached, or scrambled. Which cafe do you think would do better?
From conference call services to e-commerce apps, your business approach should be adaptable and responsive. Utilize all the services that are appropriate to your industry, and make sure BOPIS is among them.