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BOPIS: How Buy Online, Pickup In Store Is Delighting Customers and Increasing Retailers’ Sales

  • 6 min read
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BOPIS, or “Buy Online, Pickup in Store,” is a strategy that allows consumers to order products from an ecommerce website and then pick them up in a brick-and-mortar store. For retailers, it’s a way to bring together the best of both worlds: the convenience of shopping online without customers having to wait for their purchases to be delivered and the ability to physically touch and feel items before buying them. For consumers, it provides a sense of instant gratification and eliminates shipping costs. 

In 2020, the height of the pandemic, demand for BOPIS options increased significantly. Fast-forward to 2023, customer adoption and repeated use of BOPIS have driven a record number of retailers with brick-and-mortar locations to offer the option online at checkout. According to Research and Markets, the global BOPIS market is expected to reach $703.18 Billion by 2027. 

Why Should Retailers Offer BOPIS?

BOPIS is an increasingly popular way to shop at retail stores, allowing customers to have multiple shopping experiences in one place. For example, if a customer needs a gift for a birthday party, they can order online and pick it up in-store. Or if they want to try on clothes before buying them, BOPIS lets them do that as well.

BOPIS is a great way to make shopping more accessible and convenient for customers who don’t have time or prefer not to go into stores. It allows them to order items online and check out in just a few clicks without waiting in long lines or driving all over town looking for parking spots.

Another benefit is that it allows people who live outside major cities or who otherwise don’t have access to many stores nearby to shop online without driving long distances.

BOPIS can increase sales. Customers picking up orders may be tempted to browse the store and make additional purchases. Or they may realize they’ve forgotten an item. Either way, it’s an excellent opportunity for an upsell. 

How Does BOPIS Work?

BOPIS is changing the way we shop. The concept of picking up in-store has been around since the beginning of retail, but it’s only recently that we’ve seen it become a new trend.

Buying online and picking up in-store is a straightforward concept. BOPIS allows them to select items they want from their device and have them ready when they show up at the store.

Most stores have developed apps or websites for consumers to use that allow them to order things ahead of time. Doing so enables customers to continue shopping at your store without sacrificing time, putting you one step ahead of your competitors.

Who Benefits?

Believe it or not, BOPIS has the potential to benefit both involved parties – both the stores and the shoppers. However, while there are many benefits, it’s not without challenges. Below is a list of the main advantages and challenges of implementing a BOPIS system. 

The Benefits:

Decreases Buying Time

As previously mentioned, the modern consumerist environment prioritizes efficiency for both the consumers and the vendors. This partly means minimizing the time it takes a customer to get through the store, checkout, and go home. It doesn’t get much easier to decrease the time they spend in-store than to eliminate their need to do so. 

By quickening the shopping process for customers, you also make the shopping experience much more streamlined. Fewer people in the store for prolonged periods means less chaotic and crowded foot traffic. Lower traffic numbers mean that those who shop in-store can get done quicker and more efficiently than if everyone was shopping in the store. 

No Shipping Costs for Sellers or Buyers

While shopping online has many benefits, one of the main drawbacks is that it increases the overall cost by adding delivery expenses with packaging and transportation. If a retailer sells an item online for $100 and it gets damaged in transit, they can potentially lose the entire cost or spend the next two months filing a claim in hopes of recouping the cost. 

With BOPIS, the customer picks up the item, eliminating additional shipping packaging and the threat of a damaged delivery. Not only does BOPIS save money, but it also cuts down on waste. 

Eliminates Inventory Issues 

When customers shop in-store, there’s no guarantee that everything they want will be available in stock. With supply chain issues plaguing retailers for the last three years, it’s become more common to find empty shelves. 

With BOPIS, stores with real-time inventory capabilities can guarantee customers get 100% of what they want, when they want it.

The Challenges

Inventory Sync Required

While the traditional inventory issues on the customer’s end are solved for the most part by BOPIS, it does present a new problem for retailers: inventory sync. Essentially, stores are under more pressure to meet the supply and demand aspect of inventory management while also accounting for the items that aren’t purchased in-store. Without doing so, BOPIS can potentially cause an increase in out-of-stock items, especially for customers using traditional shopping methods. 

Fulfillment Time/Speed

Another issue presented by BOPIS is that the employees who are fulfilling the orders are put under a time crunch to ensure they fulfill the orders within a given time frame so that customers don’t have to wait to get their items. After all, the whole point of BOPIS is speed and efficiency. 

Availability and Awareness

BOPIS requires you to have at least one employee available to fulfill orders when they come in. This may sound easy, but an employee may not always be available on busier days. In addition, if the store is packed with shoppers and a BOPIS order comes in, it could take workers away from the face-to-face customers who are relying on their help. 

In addition, employees have to monitor the BOPIS ordering system to catch all BOPIS orders when they come in. This means adding another task for them, which can be stressful if the store is already busy. 

BOPIS is a Win-Win

When customers use BOPIS, they eliminate shipping costs and the wait time for deliveries. Instead, they can simply drive over after ordering products online, pick them up, and get back home faster than ever before! When retailers use BOPIS, they can increase sales and customer loyalty, decrease shipping costs, and optimize inventory management. 

All in all, BOPIS offers more flexibility to stores that want to combine the benefits of in-person shopping with the convenience of online ordering. It can help you maintain the relevance of a brick-and-mortar location and keep up with changing customer needs.