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The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on all businesses, especially retail businesses during the past two years. In order to survive and develop during this time, some retail businesses start to adopt a new sales model called BOPIS to meet the customers’ expectations.

However, this sales model has brought benefits beyond expectations and became a long-term trend for both retailers and customers. According to a recent survey by Digital Commerce 360, 43.7% of retailers implemented BOPIS in August 2020 which increased more than 6 times compared to 6.9% prior to the pandemic. Therefore, understanding BOPIS and the future of retail business is also important to all current retail businesses.

What is BOPIS?

BOPIS refers to buy-online-pickup-in-store, sometimes known as click-and-collect. It is a sales model that combines the convenience of purchasing online and the comfort of being able to pick up locally at any time. BOPIS is a perfect way to drive in-store traffic and connect online and offline purchase experiences.

In some places, we can see the term curbside pickup instead of BOPIS. Curbside pickup can be considered as BOPAC which stands for buy-online-pickup-at-curb, a part of BOPIS. This model has become more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic since people try to avoid being inside stores with crowds as much as possible. Because of its convenience and efficiency, this option has also been widely used by both customers and retailers.

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How does it work?

To make the system work with BOPIS, retailers have to sync the online store with the POS system. All transaction data from all channels (both online and offline) is synchronized and gathered on a central POS system in real-time. In this case, retailers have to choose the POS software which is native or at least offers smooth integration with an eCommerce platform. BOPIS works following these processes:

  • The first step, customers find your online store via the Internet by searching their needed items online.
  • Then, customers check your catalog online, read all the information, reviews, and select their purchase items.
  • After selecting items, customers choose the option to pick them up in-store (choosing store location, date, and time). Then they can choose to pay online right away or pay later when picking up.
  • In real-time, staff receive the notification about the pick-up order through the POS screen and start preparing for pick-up. All inventory is tracked and managed through the POS system.
  • Finally, customers go to the chosen store and pick up the order. They can pay right there if they haven’t.

What are its benefits?

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Benefits to Customers

BOPIS brings many benefits to customers when shopping.

  • Convenient: According to the survey by JDA Software Group, 32% of customers choose to use BOPIS because it is convenient when picking up from nearby stores. If customers need the item immediately, it is much faster ordering online and having it ready for pickup later than waiting a few days for delivery.
  • No shipping fee: Customers prefer to purchase online but it is always more expensive to have the items shipped to the door. BOPIS is a good option since customers can pick up themselves to avoid shipping fees but still can enjoy the benefits of online purchasing. According to invespcro.com, 65% of surveyed people choose “No shipping fee” as one of the main criteria when choosing BOPIS.
  • Being able to see products before taking them home: 77% of surveyed people choose this as an important benefit when using BOPIS following data from Invespcro.com.
  • In-stock insurance: When an item is ready for pickup, BOPIS acts as a form of insurance that will be 100% at the store of the customer’s choice. Customers can make sure that it is not a waste of time to go to stores without products available.

Benefits to Retailers

Besides benefits to customers, retailers also get many advantages from using BOPIS.

  • Lower shipping cost: BOPIS not only eliminates shipping costs for customers but also reduces shipping costs for retailers.
  • Increase extra purchase from customers: When customers go to the store to pick up the order, they may be enticed to look around and buy more things. It is a great opportunity to increase sales. 49% of surveyed shoppers made additional purchases while picking up their items in-store according to data from Invespcro.com.
  • Better inventory management: With BOPIS, retailers no longer need a separate online and in-store inventory system. Orders can be fulfilled either from the distribution center or from the store and managed by one single system. Employees have real-time access to inventory control tools that interface directly with the POS system, ensuring orders are rapidly fulfilled and ready for collection when promised.

BOPIS’s potentials in this century

BOPIS has proved to be the potential and necessary sales channel in the new century. Following data from invesprco.com, almost 67% of shoppers in the US have used BOPIS in the past six months. There are 56% of surveyed customers who plan to continue using BOPIS after Covid 19. And 90% of retailers plan to implement BOPIS in 2021.

All of that data shows that BOPIS has become a trend for both retailers and customers in the coming years.

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Some famous retailers with successful BOPIS implementation

Many retailers witnessed a significant increase in sales volume after implementing BOPIS. We can list some prominent names as follows:

Lowe’s

Lowe’s is an American home improvement business with 2,000 locations across the nation. Realizing the BOPIS trend, they decided to upgrade their systems and deployed over 88,000 mobile devices that can process BOPIS orders. And the result is 60% of their online purchases being picked up in local stores during the first quarter of 2019.

Walmart

Walmart is a very famous retailer in America and is considered the top retailer with BOPIS according to Risnews.com. Customers may shop Walmart’s extensive grocery variety online and have their items prepared and ready for pick up whenever they feel convenient. Walmart’s grocery pickup combines the simplicity of online shopping with the comfort of never having to leave the car, all at no extra charge.

Nordstrom

Nordstrom is an American luxury department store chain. After applying BOPIS, Nordstrom revealed that order pickup accounted for half of their department store digital sales increase in the third quarter of 2019. In addition, in Los Angeles, in-store pickup accounted for two-thirds of online sales growth.

Home Depot

In 2018, Home Depot started to invest more in the retail experience, including implementing BOPIS which combines both physical and in-store experience. As a result, their sales record in 2019 increased by 3.5% compared to 2018. More than half of their online customers choose to pick up items in stores.

Besides, there are also some retailers that find it difficult to fulfill the BOPIS orders. But they also can find a solution to take advantage of BOPIS. So what are the difficulties that customers can meet during BOPIS model implementation? Here we take one example as follow:

Mr.Pet’s

This store chain was a pet products business with 9 stores over America with thousands of items in online stores. They also witnessed the 10 times increase in customers’ demand for purchase and pick up in-store during the pandemic time. However, unlike other big retailers, they struggle to organize and fulfill in-store pickup sales because they can not connect their inventory management system with online websites. Because all data from offline and online stores are separated, it’s extremely difficult for employees to keep track of pickup orders. Finally, Mr.Pet found a suitable POS system that can connect with their website and successfully manage their inventory system. They use the Magento eCommerce platform and Magestore POS to build up the successful BOPIS model.

Conclusion

In general, BOPIS is the future of retail business because of its benefits and efficiency for both customers and businesses. Whatever the sort of retail store you operate, there is always a method to incorporate the BOPIS model into your business. Besides, almost all current POS software can support you in the implementation and inventory management. It is now the moment to take advantage of this relatively new approach to enhance purchasing experiences while also meeting the new era’s requirements.

Kate Nguyen

Author Kate Nguyen

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