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How BOPIS retail blurs the line between online and physical shopping

How BOPIS retail blurs the line between online shopping and physical shopping

Buy online, pickup in-store or BOPIS is one of the upcoming trends in the eCommerce industry. It is a fulfillment strategy that offers the customers an omnichannel shopping experience, meaning it brings together the best of the both worlds – offline and online shopping. While eCommerce has become the very backbone of product purchasing, the BOPIS retail model gives it a surprising twist. 

When customers find it difficult to decide between online and physical shopping, then buy online, pickup in-store process comes to the rescue. As the name suggests, customers can shop for a product using an eCommerce website or a mobile app and pick it up from the physical store at their convenience.

Some of the major eCommerce platforms that offer the ease of BOPIS implementation are Salesforce Commerce Cloud storefront, Shopify Plus, Adobe Commercecommercetools, and BigCommerce platform. These platforms enable uncomplicated adoption of BOPIS for any existing and new eCommerce business.

This amalgamation of online and offline shopping in BOPIS strategy has undeniably blurred the line between the two different purchasing models. Retailers are always looking to please their customers by offering them the best products, services, discounts, and shopping experiences. And, BOPIS has made this task easy for them, as they can now offer the advantages of online and offline shopping at the same time to their customers.

What is BOPIS Retail?

BOPIS retail is quite a simple idea that allows the customers to buy a product via a digital shopping channel and collect the ordered products from their nearest retail store outlet and even pay for it physically. This shopping model defies the traditional eCommerce model, wherein the customers had to place the order through a digital platform and wait for the deliveries to arrive at their homes. BOPIS retail strategy has slowly gained momentum in the past couple of years, as it allows customers to browse for products at their comfort and pay for it in-store only if they like it. As for retailers, this model increases the footfall, which translates to more product and better sales. 

However, when adopting BOPIS in retail, merchants must maintain inventories in real-time. They have to ensure that the products for which they have received orders online are available in the physical store at the same price and discount rates (if any).Retailers should also facilitate customers with dedicated checkout counters for collecting their orders. While placing orders ‘online’ is the primary objective of a BOPIS retail model, it should also enable the customers to make on-the-fly purchases when they reach the physical retail outlet for picking up their orders.

Why does a BOPIS strategy make sense in today’s ecommerce ecosystem?

BOPIS fits perfectly in today’s retail environment because of the flexibility it offers to customers. When a customer selects BOPIS, they don’t have to pay for the product until they’ve tried it out in-store. Then for retailers, it offers an opportunity to get customers to visit their physical stores, browse through the additional product catalogue and purchase more products than a customer intended to. 

According to a survey conducted by Adobe, out of 1000 customers, 30% of the online shoppers would prefer the BOPIS commerce over the traditional home delivery system. In yet another survey, stats suggest that 40% of retailers have started offering BOPIS services. These numbers affirm that BOPIS retail is one of the important trends in today’s eCommerce economy.

What does a BOPIS strategy consist of?

For BOPIS retail to work smoothly, retailers should have a digital channel in collaboration with a functional physical retail store. If a retailer already has an online store, then she needs to provide an additional checkout option – pickup in-store. And, the physical store needs to create dedicated checkout counters or allow curbside pickup in order to provide a seamless shopping experience to their customers.

The BOPIS in retail steps

  • Ordering: Customers can browse the products across the several brand touchpoints. They can then proceed to the checkout section, where they get the option to pick up their ordered products from their nearest retail outlet. All they have to do is select this option. Customers are also not required to pay the billing amount while placing the order and can do so when they come to get the products from the physical store.
  • Fulfillment: Retailers have to maintain a unified inventory in real-time of all the products listed across the different sales channels. They need to fulfill the order placed by the customers by keeping track of all the available products that are displayed online and are present in the store. 
  • Physical checkout: Customers can go to the nearest retail store, pay the billing amount and collect their online orders. They can also browse through the shopping aisles and get some more products before the final checkout.

The benefits of Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) retail

BOPIS retail is an entirely customer-centric eCommerce strategy. Customers have their reasons for choosing the Buy Online, Pickup In-Store option. Here’re some of the benefits they enjoy with this hybrid shopping scheme:

  • No shipping cost: Customers can pick up their orders from the store, thus eliminating the shipping costs (if any) involved in the home delivery system.
  • Time-saving: Typically, customers have to wait for at least a day for receiving their online orders. However, with BOPIS, they can avail same-day delivery option.
  • Easy returns: Customers can check the quality, size, and colour of their products when they are in the store for collecting their orders. If they are not satisfied with the product, they can initiate the return process immediately.
  • No theft risk: If the delivery person leaves the package on the doorstep, it might get stolen or lost. However, when customers pick up their orders, they remove this risk considerably.

What are the benefits of buy online pickup in store process?

It is not just the customers who are the beneficiaries of this eCommerce strategy retailers also have their share of advantages. BOPIS retail is one of the few schemes benefiting both – sellers and buyers.

#1: Increased eCommerce sales

With the adoption of a BOPIS strategy, retailers have seen a gradual but steady increase in the number of customers (online and offline), which has resulted in an exponential growth in their sales record. In the US alone, click-and-collect sales more than doubled in 2020. It is also estimated that sales will likely continue double-digit growth through 2024. 

Kohls.com since offering BOPIS retail services, have reported huge profits year-by-year. Another great example is Petco, the pet retailers, which increased their revenue and the number of net new customers by more than 5% by adopting the BOPIS strategy.

#2: Better selling prospects

The fusion of digital and brick-and-mortar shopping presents retailers with excellent upselling and cross-selling opportunities. There’s a high possibility that the customers who have placed online orders might peruse other products while collecting their orders and initiate an unintended purchase. Also, the retail staff can persuade customers to buy some more products based on the order placed. 

According to a survey on BOPIS, around 80% of customers who use this eCommerce trend are likely to shop for other products while they are in the store to collect their orders. Walmart and Target use BOPIS retail to sell their products on multiple platforms and make the most of upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

#3: Cutting out on shipping costs

The delivery charges can stride away many potential customers from placing their orders. But, BOPIS facilitates customers to experience modern shopping – browse online and collect in-person. This eCommerce approach enables customers to shop without worrying about shipping costs. Retailers can increase their revenue by offering BOPIS – an omnichannel retail solution as it reduces the shipping cost and manages to convert a potential lead to a life-long customer. 

#4: Decreased cart abandonment rates 

Many customers abandon the online carts after realizing the unwanted shipping costs that they have to incur to get their products home-delivered. Since BOPIS cuts the shipping cost to zero, the cart abandonment rate also reduces to a great extent. The low cart abandonment rate helps retailers create brand loyalty and maintain a high customer retention rate. 

Home Depot and Nordstrom have also started offering their customers BOPIS services and have successfully implemented the order fulfillment process to retain more and more customers.

#5: Customer satisfaction

By adopting BOPIS in retail, merchants present customers with a convenient, personalized, and frictionless shopping experience. BOPIS retail enables customers to avail features like real-time notifications, same-day order fulfillment, contactless deliveries, uncomplicated checkout process, and simplified management of return orders. With just a slight modification in offering a seamless online buying experience, retailers can grow their customer base along with an exceptional sales record.

Conclusion

With BOPIS retail, e-retailers ensure that their customers get what they want quickly without compromising their safety. This hybrid approach where digital shopping websites meet offline stores is undoubtedly the future of eCommerce. Bridging the gap between online and offline shopping is what a BOPIS strategy is achieving efficiently and proving to be one of the major game-changers in the eCommerce industry. 

 

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