4 elements of a successful BOPIS strategy

by Scott Spivack •

Does your brand have a BOPIS strategy in place?

As consumers demand unparalleled convenience and speedy fulfillment from their shopping experience,  omnichannel retailers are increasingly offering BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In Store) fulfillment to stay competitive.

BOPIS has proven incredibly popular in a short amount of time; according to a recent Bizrate Insights survey, just over half of all shoppers have already used it at least once:

Which of the following in-store checkout options have you used?

Alternative checkout options by popularity, March 2019
Source: Bizrate Insights Flash Survey, March 2019

Our research has found that BOPIS is the most popular checkout option after cashiers and self-checkout, while Retail Dive has reported that it helps drive additional in-store purchases. It also helps reduce last-mile shipping costs, making it profitable for brands and appealing to consumers.

However, without an effective strategy, BOPIS can become a source of frustration for customers and lead to lost potential revenue. 25% of the customers who reported using BOPIS also reported encountering an issue during the pickup process.

These 4 key tactics can help you avoid these issues and ensure your BOPIS strategy delivers on what shoppers expect.

1. Strong inventory management

One of the most crucial elements of any BOPIS strategy is strong inventory management. Arriving at a store and being told the item you wanted isn’t in stock is always disappointing, but it’s far worse if a store has already set the expectation that the item will be ready for pickup. If your customer doesn’t receive their order after they’ve received a notification and gone to your store, you’re guaranteed to damage trust in your brand.

How can you avoid this? Make sure your inventory management system can quickly and effectively communicate cross-channel, with strong integration between your online store and your brick-and-mortar locations. This will help you avoid headaches (and unhappy customers( and win loyalty.

2. Fast and frictionless pickups

Customers largely use BOPIS to avoid shipping charges and wait times. If your BOPIS option doesn’t help them avoid these pain points, it won’t add any value to their experience.

Many retailers initially opt to fulfill BOPIS orders at the customer service counter. While logical, this forces shoppers to wait in lengthy lines while other shoppers make returns and exchanges. This is frustrating for the shopper, who expects the buy online, pick up in-store experience to be fast and convenient.

BOPIS orders should be ready within a few hours, with pickups located towards the front of the store and little to no wait times. Wal-Mart, for example, uses “Pickup Towers” and lockers to fulfill orders, letting customers simply walk in, enter a code, and retrieve their item with a minimum of fuss.

If all of the following shopping options were available, which would you prefer to use?

Shopper checkout preferences, March 2019
Source: Bizrate Insights Flash Survey, March 2019

3. An optimized digital experience

Don’t forget about the top of your funnel. A BOPIS customer may be picking up their item in one of your brick-and-mortar stores, but ultimately, they’re online shoppers. That means that your customer’s digital shopping experience is just as important as what happens in-store.

Creating a satisfying online customer experience requires ongoing effort and an understanding of what your particular customers. Implementing a Voice of Customer (VoC) program can help you track feedback and key metrics to quickly identify where customers may be experiencing friction points in your omnichannel strategy.

The digital experience is just as important to BOPIS as the in-store one
Overall design, ease of finding products, and the checkout process are all important feedback metrics to watch when evaluating your retail website.

4. Promotional campaigns

It won’t do much good to offer fulfillment through BOPIS if your customers don’t know that the option exists. You should boost awareness as much as possible, especially through online channels like social media and email.

Generally speaking, customers already understand the benefits of BOPIS, but it doesn’t hurt to remind them when they’re comparing shipping options in their cart. Many companies will even offer discounts or gift cards to incentivize BOPIS orders over other forms of checkout.

And remember: BOPIS tends to see a spike during the holidays, because it’s a guarantee that the customer will receive their item on time. Featuring click and collect in your holiday marketing campaigns can be a great way to drive more traffic to your website and your store.

Creating a BOPIS Experience Your Customers Love

Want to know if your BOPIS strategy is effective? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is inventory easy to locate and keep track of?
  • Can BOPIS orders be picked up in minutes?
  • Is my website user-friendly? Am I listening to and implementing customer feedback?
  • Are my customers aware that BOPIS is an option?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, or aren’t sure of the answer, a Voice of Customer solution can help by giving you feedback from verified shoppers. Reach out today to find out more about our Voice of Customer solution, designed specifically to help you optimize your Buy Online, Pickup In Store program. Or, learn how we helped Boscov’s evolve their BOPIS strategy.

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