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Buy Online, Pickup in Store

A National Retail Federation study on Consumer Views in late October 2019 revealed that70% of the survey participants would pay for a Buy-online, pick-up-in-store service (BOPIS).
BOPIS has emerged as a convenient option not only for consumers but retailers that invested in brick-and-mortar stores. Growth in online retail sales was overtaking traditional brick-and-mortar retail before the pandemic and BOPIS was being adopted by top retailers. With the onset of the pandemic in 2020, a Digital Commerce 360 survey in late 2020 showed results that 43.7% of the top 500 retailers with physical stores were offering BOPIS — up from 6.9% before the pandemic started. BOPIS, also known as click-and-collect or curbside- pickup provides a safe, contact-free way to shop online and pick up the ordered items.

In order to implement BOPIS, a retailer needs to implement the following tools:

1) A website or app where customers can shop and place orders for the products online
2) A brick-and-mortar location where customers can pick up the products ordered. The physical location can be a storefront or warehouse and can be delivered in a package to a customer in a designated drop-off area outside the location. A storefront is more advantageous as it can entice an online buyer to peruse and buy more products inside the physical store. 67% of shoppers using BOPIS buy additional items, according to a survey conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers.
3) A real-time integrated inventory management system that can update both the retailer and consumers the current availability of a product across locations, physical or digital and schedule pick-up.

The benefits of BOPIS for customers and retailers are evident.

1) Instead of waiting for delivery of the product which can be queued with other outbound orders, customers can pick up their orders immediately after buying their order. In the US and Canada, last-mile delivery still poses a challenge for retailers and customers, either being expensive or time-consuming. BOPIS offers a convenient and quicker option for the customer, helping retailers to provide a simpler and smoother customer experience.
2) Picking up from a physical location result in reduced prices as customers do not have to pay for extra shipping. Retailers do not have to invest in logistics infrastructure or find logistics providers.
3) BOPIS also lets returns or exchanges be quicker. Customers do not have to pay for return shipping if any, or wait for a long time for refunds or exchanged products. Customers can directly return or exchange the product/s at the physical location.

An additional benefit for the retailer is that they can use existing physical store locations as fulfillment centers. Real estate prices are prone to appreciation it has been observed In North America that there has been a drop in mall visitors over the past few decades.

Many brick-and-mortar retail giants, such as Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Petco, have adopted best practices in online retail, including implementing BOPIS as a convenient option for the customers. Conversely, online retailers or direct-to-consumer brands are opening physical stores to strengthen the consumer community, offer BOPIS and improve customer fulfillment. In May 2022, Amazon opened its first physical retail fashion store. Amazon has been opening physical stores since 2015 with a bookstore and then its acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017. But the recent opening confirms that brick-and-mortar stores will grow after COVID 19 and will be important in retail strategy.

The critical success factor for BOPIS is an integrated real-time inventory system across physical locations and digital stores. 58% of customers prefer flexible, blended shipping options, according to The Future of Commerce Trends Report 2022. Successful implementation of BOPIS results in delivering a consistent omnichannel retail experience for the customer.


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