23 February, 2023

The future of retail is here: How BOPIS is changing the game

In today’s fast-paced world, convenience is everything. Consumers want to shop when and where it’s best for them, and retailers are looking for ways to meet those demands. One method retailers use to give their customers what they want is “Buy Online, Pick Up In Store” (BOPIS). This strategy, which is gaining in popularity, is being offered by more and more retailers as part of their omnichannel fulfillment process. Let’s examine what BOPIS is and how it’s changing retail.

 

What is BOPIS?

BOPIS is a shopping method that allows customers to purchase items online and then pick them up at a physical store. It is, in fact, a great system that helps retailers streamline their operations while giving their customers a seamless shopping experience. When implemented correctly, BOPIS can facilitate flow as customers go from online to in-person shopping channels, allowing them to have the best of both worlds. By synchronizing and integrating these different channels, retailers can attract more customers, something that will give them a competitive advantage.

In addition to BOPIS, there are three related strategies retailers can adopt to improve their customers’ experience:

  1. Buy Online, Pick Up At Curb (BOPAC) – meaning that customers can collect their online purchases outside a physical store, often without needing to leave their vehicles.
  2. Buy Online, Return In Store (BORIS) – goods purchased online and delivered to a home can be returned to a physical store.
  3. Reserve Online, Pick Up In Store (ROPIS) – items can be ordered online but paid for as they’re picked up at the physical location. The advantages of this method are (a) the customer can put a hold on an item before it sells out, and (b) they can inspect the item before actually paying for it.

 

Impact on retail and ecommerce

It’s fair to say that BOPIS has had a significant impact on both retail and ecommerce. First, it brings more shoppers into the physical store because online shopping has a much wider reach; second, the collection method allows retailers to move inventory faster, a factor that improves the bottom line; and third, the pick-up option is good for order management and inventory fulfillment. It’s a faster process that makes stock turn over in a shorter period of time, and as a result, there’s less chance of items sitting in stores for a long time and becoming obsolete and less chance of stock running out.

 

Benefits of BOPIS

1. Increased sales

One of the main benefits of BOPIS is convenience for the customer. The pick-up option means they can get their item right away without having to wait days for a shipping service to deliver it, something that’s especially important when they buy perishable goods like groceries. For the retailer, BOPIS expands the reach of their physical stores, bringing many more customers into them and increasing sales.

2. Improved inventory management

When shoppers pick their items up directly from the brick-and-mortar store, inventory moves through the system quicker. This increased speed helps retailers keep a closer eye on their stock levels, enabling them to anticipate stockouts or predict obsolescence. Another benefit of inventory moving faster is that it creates room in storage for new products and styles, keeping the store fresh and relevant. All in all, the result is better inventory management.

3. Increased customer loyalty

BOPIS builds loyalty because it provides a positive and convenient shopping experience. Customers can examine items before they take them home, ensuring their satisfaction with the product and trust in your service. Plus, when customers are at the store for their pickup, they could be enticed to look around inside and get something else.

4. Reduced shipping costs

When customers pick up their purchases themselves at a store, there are fewer shipping costs for the business. While they may need to ship the item to the store, moving items in bulk is less costly than individually shipping items to the customer’s home. These savings are increased even more when it comes to large or heavy items since they can be really costly to ship.

5. Improved online and in-store integration

When retailers offer BOPIS, they can integrate their online and in-store operations, creating a seamless shopping experience for customers. By integrating their channels in this way, retailers can also give customers a better selection of products more efficiently at a lower cost. A cloud-based order management system can be a great asset when implementing this personal pickup system. It offers a unified ordering and tracking system, which in turn streamlines the whole process and reduces errors. This helps retailers to keep track of their inventory, manage their orders, and secure payments more efficiently.

 

Challenges to implementing BOPIS

Some retailers may find it difficult to coordinate their online orders with the inventory they have in their stores. Alternatively, a company might find it difficult to find a convenient pickup location for a customer, one that can fulfill the order quickly. Roadblocks like this could be stockouts and delays.

One way around this is to have a dedicated employee, or employees, take care of BOPIS orders. Another is to create a designated area in the store specifically for the pickups, somewhere that’s easy for customers to find and has room for them to line up without getting in the way of anyone else. It’s also important to have an inventory management system that works in real time. The Cin7 Omni system does this as it tracks your inventory in every storage facility you manage and across each one of your sales channels.

 

BOPIS in action

Despite these challenges, many retailers are turning to BOPIS to meet consumers’ needs and boost their bottom lines. Walmart and Target are two of the biggest retailers offering the service, and since doing so they’ve seen their online sales increase. These chains have also introduced technology that makes the process even more efficient for customers, technology that gives them online notifications when their order is ready for pickup and facilitates mobile check-in when they get to the store.

 

Conclusion

There’s no question that BOPIS is revolutionizing the retail industry. It gives consumers a convenient and personalized shopping experience they like, while boosting sales and reducing shipping costs for retailers. The BOPIS method can present challenges for sure, but with the right tools and software, any challenge can be overcome.

If you’re thinking about introducing BOPIS to your online retail business, consider Cin7 Omni software. It’s an all-in-one platform that offers a number of useful features, many of which you’ll find helpful when you introduce these in-store pickup options.

If you’d like to know more, schedule time with one of our experts and be given a demo.

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