BOPIS eCommerce-Know All About Buy Online, Pick Up In Store

July 3, 2024 What are the benefits of BOPIS for customers

Imagine you’re at home enjoying a lazy afternoon, but then you remember the pantry needs restocking. The thought of going to busy stores and long lines makes you shudder. Then you thought why not just order online, they messed up last time and it was an hour on the phone and you had to go to the store anyway.

What if there was a way to avoid all that hassle?

Welcome to the world of BOPIS eCommerce (Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store), where your items are packed and ready for pick up by the time you arrive at the store.

Quick Guide

  1. What is BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup In-store)?
    • How Does BOPIS Work in eCommerce?
      • What is the BOPIS delivery method?
        • Variations of BOPIS
  2. Is BOPIS a Good Fit for Your Business?
    • Customer Benefits vs Retailer Advantages
    • What are the First Steps to Implementing BOPIS? (Retailer POV)
    • What Challenges might Retailers face when implementing BOPIS?
    • How can a Retailer solve these Challenges?
  3. Conclusion

What is BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup In-store)?

BOPIS, or Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store, is a shopping option that allows customers to purchase items online and then pick them up at a physical store. This method combines the convenience of online shopping with the immediacy of picking up your order at a local store.

buy online pickup in store

How Does BOPIS Work in eCommerce?

In eCommerce, BOPIS hybridizes the shopping process, introducing the convenience of online shopping while having the personability of in-store experience. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the BOPIS process

what is biopis

Customer Journey Map

Online OrderBrowse and Select

Customers start their shopping journey by browsing the retailer’s website or mobile app.

They can explore a wide range of products, Look for sales and unique offers, and card discounts, read reviews, and compare prices before adding items to their cart.

Customers can use search filters to find specific items, view high-quality images, and read detailed product descriptions

Checkout Choose “Pick Up In-Store”

During the checkout process, customers select the “pick up in-store” option. This choice is presented alongside other delivery options such as home delivery or curbside pickup (If available).

Customers can see a comparison of different delivery methods, including estimated delivery times and costs.

Customers choose the most convenient store location for pickup, using an interactive map to find nearby stores.

Order ProcessingStore Preparation

Once the order is placed, the selected store receives the order details.

Store associates then pick and pack the items, ensuring they are ready for customer pickup. The store processes the order and prepares it for pickup.

Real-time inventory updates ensure that the items ordered are in stock and available for pickup.

Notification: Ready for Pickup

Customers visit the store at their convenience to collect their orders from a designated pickup location. 

 Customers receive real-time updates about their order status, including any changes or delays.

Clear instructions are provided, including store hours, pickup location within the store, and any required identification.

In-Store PickupCollecting the Order

Customers visit the store at their convenience to collect their orders from a designated pickup location. This area is typically located near the entrance for easy access.

Stores have marked areas for BOPIS orders, with dedicated staff to assist if needed. Staff at the pickup location can help with any issues or questions, ensuring a smooth experience.

what is the bopis delivery method?

What is the BOPIS delivery method?

The BOPIS delivery method, short for Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store, is a hybrid shopping approach that combines the ease of online shopping with the convenience of picking up purchases at a physical store location. 

This method allows customers to browse and select products online, place their orders through the retailer’s website or app, and choose a nearby store for pickup.

What is the BOPIS strategy?

Variations of BOPIS

While BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store) is a popular hybrid shopping approach, there are several variations or BOPIS options that cater to different customer preferences and logistical needs. These variations include

BOPAC (Buy Online, Pick Up At Curbside)

Similar to BOPIS, customers pick up their orders at the curbside rather than entering the store. This method gained significant popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic and most stores had to offer curbside pickup due to its minimal contact nature.

  • Convenience Customers don’t need to leave their cars, making it faster and more convenient.
  • Safety Reduces contact and interaction, enhancing safety during health crises.

ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline)

Customers research products online but prefer to make purchases brick and mortar stores. This approach allows them to see and feel the product before buying.

  • Product Assurance Customers can inspect the product physically before making a purchase.
  • Instant Gratification Immediate possession of the product upon purchase.

BORIS (Buy Online, Return In-Store)

Customers can return items bought online at a physical store. This variation is often offered alongside BOPIS to provide a complete omnichannel shopping experience.

  • Ease of Returns Simplifies the return process for online purchases.
  • Enhanced Customer Service Store staff can assist with returns and exchanges, improving customer satisfaction.

SFS (Ship From Store)

Online orders are fulfilled using inventory from a nearby store rather than a centralized warehouse. This can be combined with BOPIS or BOPAC for faster delivery.

  • Faster Delivery Reduces shipping times by using local store inventory.
  • Inventory Optimization Balances inventory levels across stores and warehouses.

ROPIS (Reserve Online, Pick Up In-Store)

Customers reserve items to purchase online and then pick them up in-store, often within a limited timeframe. This method ensures product availability before the customer arrives at the store.

  • Guaranteed Availability Ensures the product is held for the customer, reducing the risk of stockouts.
  • No Payment Until Pickup Customers can reserve items without immediate payment, allowing them to inspect the product first.

BOSS (Buy Online, Ship to Store)

Customers buy items online and have them shipped to a store for pickup, often used for items not stocked in the store.

  • Expanded Product Range Offers customers access to a broader range of products than available in-store.

Convenience Combines online shopping with the flexibility of picking up orders at a preferred store location.

benefits of BOPIS

Is BOPIS a Good Fit for Your Business?

Shall we have a little Quiz to find out

Do you have a significant percentage of customers who shop online but live near your physical store locations?

  •  Yes, a large portion of our customers live near our stores.
  •  Somewhat, but it’s not a major portion.
  •  No, most of our customers are from distant locations.

Can your current inventory management system handle real-time updates and synchronize with orders online and pick-up?

  •  Yes, we have a robust inventory management system.
  •  We have some capabilities but may need upgrades.
  •  No, our inventory system is not equipped for this.

Are your store associates trained to handle online order processing and customer interactions for in-store pickups?

  • Yes, our staff is well-trained for these tasks.
  • They have some training but may need additional support.
  • No, our staff is not trained for this.

Do you have the necessary technology (e.g., Order Management System, Customer Relationship Management) to support BOPIS?

  • Yes, we have all the required technology in place.
  • We have some technology, but may need to invest in more.
  • No, we lack the necessary technology.

Is your store layout conducive to setting up a designated pickup location that is easily accessible to customers?

  •  Yes, we have ample space and an ideal layout for this.
  •  We might need to make some adjustments to our layout.
  •  No, our store layout does not support this.

Have your customers expressed interest in a buy online, pick up in-store option?

  •  Yes, there has been significant demand for this service by online shoppers.
  •  Some customers have shown interest.
  •  No, there hasn’t been much interest.

Do your competitors offer BOPIS or similar services?

  •  Yes, most of our competitors offer this service.
  •  Some competitors offer it.
  •  No, our competitors do not offer this service.

Scoring and Results

Calculate Your Score

  • For each A answer, score 3 points.
  • For each B answer, score 2 points.
  • For each C answer, score 1 point.

Results

18-21 Points BOPIS is a great fit for your business!

  • Your business is well-positioned to implement BOPIS.

12-17 Points BOPIS could be a good fit, but requires some adjustments.

  • Your business has potential for BOPIS, but you may need to invest in infrastructure before moving forward. Consider conducting a pilot program to evaluate its feasibility.

7-11 Points BOPIS may not be the best fit at this time.

  • Your business may face significant challenges in implementing BOPIS. It might be beneficial to focus on strengthening other aspects of your retail strategy or exploring different omnichannel options before considering BOPIS

Customer Benefits vs Retailer Advantages

What are the Benefits of BOPIS for Customers?What are the Advantages of BOPIS for Retailers?
Convenience- Saves time by avoiding long checkout lines.Increased Foot Traffic-Drives more customers to physical stores, increasing the chance of additional purchases.
Immediate Gratification-Provides the convenience of online shopping with the immediacy of in-store pickup.Reduced Shipping Costs-Lowers expenses associated with shipping and handling.
Flexible Options- Offers options like curbside pickup.Better Inventory Management- Optimizes inventory management by utilizing store stock for online orders.
Product Inspection- Allows customers to inspect products before taking them home.Higher Customer Satisfaction- Improves overall customer experience and satisfaction.
Reduced Shipping Costs- Customers save on shipping fees by picking up in-store.Competitive Edge- Helps small businesses compete with eCommerce giants by offering a hybrid shopping experience.
Faster Issue Resolution- Issues can be resolved quickly in-storeBetter Customer Data- Gains insights into customer preferences and behaviors through integrated systems.
Personal Shopping Experience- Blends the convenience of online and offline shopping.Enhanced Operations- Enhances order fulfillment efficiency and accuracy.

What are the First Steps to Implementing BOPIS? (Retailer POV)

To implement BOPIS in Retail, retailers should

Assess Current Inventory and Order Management Systems

  • Evaluate Systems– Review existing inventory and order management systems to ensure they can support real-time inventory tracking and order synchronization.
  • Integration– Ensure that the online and in-store systems are integrated to provide accurate stock availability and status updates.
  • Upgrade if Necessary -Consider upgrading to an omnichannel retail store management system if the current systems are outdated or lack integration capabilities.

Train Staff on how to use BOPIS Processes

  • Comprehensive Training Provide detailed training sessions for all store associates on BOPIS processes, including order picking, packing, and handling customer inquiries.
  • Role-Specific Instructions Tailor training to different roles, such as inventory management, ecommerce order fulfillment, and customer service.
  • Continuous Learning Implement ongoing training programs to keep staff updated on best practices and new technologies.

Develop a Communication Plan for Customer Notifications

  • Notification Triggers Set up automated notifications for key stages of the BOPIS process, such as order confirmation, preparation, and ready-for-pickup alerts.
  • Multi-Channel Communication Use multiple communication channels, including email, SMS, and app notifications, to ensure customers receive updates.
  • Detailed Instructions Include specific pickup instructions in notifications, such as store hours, pickup location, and any necessary identification.

Set Up Designated Pickup Locations In-Store

  • Strategic Placement Choose a convenient and easily accessible location near the store entrance or customer service desk.
  • Clear Signage Install clear signage to direct customers to the pickup area, reducing confusion and wait times.
  • Dedicated Staff Assign specific staff to manage the pickup area, ensuring orders are handed over quickly and efficiently.

What Challenges might Retailers face when implementing BOPIS? 

Several challenges from the customer’s perspective may arise when implementing BOPIS. Here are some key challenges retailers might face and how they impact customers

Ensuring Accurate Inventory Tracking

Maintaining real-time inventory accuracy is crucial for BOPIS to work smoothly. Inaccurate inventory data can lead to out-of-stock issues or order cancellations.

Customer Impact

  • Frustration– Customers may become frustrated if they place an order only to find out that the item is not available for pickup.
  • Trust Issues Repeated inventory inaccuracies can erode customer trust in the retailer’s system.

Managing Increased Foot Traffic

BOPIS can significantly increase foot traffic in stores, especially during peak hours, leading to congestion and longer wait times for customers picking up their orders.

Customer Impact

  • Long Wait Times– Customers may experience delays in picking up their orders, which can be particularly frustrating if they expect a quick and convenient pickup process.
  • Crowded Stores– Increased foot traffic can lead to a crowded and chaotic in-store environment, detracting from the overall shopping experience.

Handling Potential Delays in Order Processing

Ensuring timely order processing is critical for BOPIS to meet customer expectations. Any delays in preparing orders can negatively affect the customer experience.

Customer Impact

  • Notification Delays -Customers might not receive timely notifications about their order status, leading to uncertainty about when they can pick up their items.
  • Pickup Delays -Arriving at the store to find that the order is not yet ready can be inconvenient and disappointing.

How can a Retailer solve these Challenges?

This checklist is designed to help retailers anticipate and solve challenges as and when they arise when implementing Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) services.

Ensuring Accurate Inventory Tracking

Implement Real-Time Inventory Management

  • Use advanced inventory management systems to update stock levels in real time across all platforms.
  • Conduct regular audits and cycle counts to maintain accuracy.

Enhance Data Accuracy

  • Train staff on proper inventory management practices.
  • Use barcode scanning and RFID technology for precise tracking.

Communication Protocols

  • Set up automated notifications for low-stock and out-of-stock items.
  • Provide customers with immediate updates if their selected items are unavailable.

Managing Increased Foot Traffic

Optimize Store Layout

  • Designate specific areas for BOPIS pickups to streamline traffic flow.
  • Use clear signage to direct customers to the pickup area.

Staff Management

  • Schedule additional staff during peak hours to handle increased foot traffic.
  • Train staff to manage queues efficiently and assist customers promptly.

Queue Management Systems

  • Implement digital queue management systems to reduce wait times.
  • Use mobile apps to notify customers when their order is ready and provide estimated wait times.

Handling Potential Delays in Order Processing

Efficient Order Processing

Timely Notifications

  • Send real-time updates to customers about their order status via SMS, email, or app notifications.
  • Ensure notifications are triggered at key stages: order received, processing, and ready for pickup.

Contingency Plans

  • Have backup plans in place for potential delays, such as staff shortages or system outages.
  • Offer customers alternatives, such as discounts or vouchers, if delays occur.

Enhancing Customer Communication and Support

Customer Support Accessibility

  • Provide multiple channels for customer support, including phone, chat, and email.
  • Ensure support is available during all operating hours, especially peak times.

Clear Instructions

  • Offer detailed instructions on the BOPIS process, including pickup location and required documentation.
  • Use multimedia (videos, infographics) to make instructions clear and engaging.

Feedback Mechanism

  • Collect customer feedback regularly to identify pain points and areas for improvement.
  • Act on feedback promptly to enhance the BOPIS experience.

Maintaining Customer Trust and Satisfaction

Consistency and Reliability

  • Ensure a consistent BOPIS experience across all locations.
  • Monitor and maintain high standards of service to build and retain customer trust.

Customer Assurance

  • Offer satisfaction guarantees or hassle-free returns for BOPIS orders.
  • Communicate transparently about any issues or changes affecting their orders.

Personalization and Engagement

  • Personalize customer interactions and offer tailored promotions for BOPIS users.
  • Engage customers with follow-up surveys and loyalty rewards to enhance their experience.

Technology and Innovation

Invest in Advanced Technologies

  • Utilize AI and machine learning for demand forecasting and inventory management.
  • Implement AR/VR tools to enhance the customer’s in-store pickup experience.

Conclusion

BOPIS offers a significant advantage over traditional online orders by combining the speed and convenience of online shopping with the immediacy of in-store pickup.

For customers, BOPIS offers a more efficient shopping experience, eliminating long lines and providing flexibility in how and when they pick up their purchases while also maintaining a certain level of personability with store

For retailers, it presents an opportunity to enhance customer satisfaction, increase in-store visits, and gain a competitive edge in the increasingly digital retail market. 

In this day and age, providing options for customers is something a retailer can’t hope to avoid, as BOPIS continues to grow in popularity, embracing this strategy can help retailers stay ahead of the curve, meet evolving customer expectations, and drive long-term success.

Visit your favorite retail store‘s website and choose BOPIS for your next purchase. Experience a new and better way of shopping today!

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