Providing more options for customers to shop and receive merchandise how they want has always been a winning option. After all, customers have different goals and expectations and providing more options helps cover those bases.
One option that has been rising in popularity in recent years is BOPIS (a handy shorthand for buy-online-pickup-in-store). This is also sometimes known as “click and collect.”
BOPIS provides an advantage for customers who want to shop online at their convenience and easily search through options and price points, without digging through shelves, but also still get the item in their hands faster (generally) than through shipping methods.
In addition to pros for the customer, BOPIS also provides advantages for the business as it is an effective way to drive more in-store traffic and to connect your online and offline experiences. For this reason, more businesses are implementing BOPIS or click and collect services as part of their online shopping.
In this guide, we’ll explore more of what BOPIS is, how to know if it’s a good fit for your business, and how to know if your tech stack is ready to accommodate it.
The Rise of BOPIS
As mentioned in the introduction, BOPIS is increasingly being seen as an option provided by ecommerce stores.
How does it work? Shoppers buy an item or items online on your website or via your mobile site/app. They can see inventory levels at their local stores and see what time and where their item will be available for pickup. This can include buying online and picking up at a customer service counter in a brick-and-mortar store, having the item brought to one’s car curbside, or having the item delivered to a locker for pickup.
This chart from Statista shows the steady increase in BOPIS share of online sales from selected U.S. retailers.
At the time this article was published, the need for and interest in BOPIS has been rising as more and more people see value in avoiding congested stores. Data from Adobe Analytics found an increase in click and collect services of 28% in February of 2020, compared to 18% in the previous month.
While this sharp increase is likely a direct result of unprecedented change in customer behavior, it is clear BOPIS opportunities have convenience advantages for both shoppers and stores in both good times and bad.
Is BOPIS a Good Fit for Your Business?
There are some requirements for starting a BOPIS initiative (see more on that below), but first you should decide if it makes sense for your business to pursue.
To that end, here are some of the business advantages of offering this option.
1. Increased Foot Traffic
As people come into the store pick up their merchandise, you’ve got them in the door. This is an opportunity for them to buy more merchandise. You can assist them in real-time with any products that would complement their order or anything else that catches their eye.
2. Lower Shipping Costs
This works both ways. One of the reasons BOPIS is popular with customers is because they can save on shipping costs and time waiting for their product. As the one shipping the items, you also have an opportunity for savings. Rather than the added expense and logistics of packing and sending their item, you can simply set it aside for them from your in-store inventory.
3. Streamlined Inventory Management
By operating with a BOPIS model, you can work from one inventory system and pull orders from your fulfillment center or store shelves. By optimizing your inventory systems to work together, you can have a clearer view of your inventory and analytics.
These general advantages may be appealing, but the real question is: is this a good solution for your business?
You should weigh the pros and cons of implementing such a plan. Does it seem like something your audience would take advantage of? You know your customers best and how they prefer to interact with your brand.
You should also only attempt BOPIS if you can do it well. Customers can quickly become dissatisfied if products are frequently out of stock in store or if the inventory wasn’t updated and their purchase will have to be shipped after all. Do you have everything you need to do BOPIS right? Read on to find out.
What You Need to Start Offering BOPIS
Now that you have the information to make a decision on whether or not BOPIS will be a good fit for your business model, it’s important to understand what you’ll need to do to actualize it. Do you have everything necessary to offer BOPIS to customers? Here’s what you need:
1. An Ecommerce Website for Ordering
To capture the “buy online” portion, you need to have a way for customers to find and purchase your products through a website. Or if you don’t have a branded website already, you will need to choose an ecommerce platform to create one.
When choosing a platform, make sure you find one that supports omni channel selling and that allows you to create a connected online and offline experience. The platform should integrate seamlessly with your ERP or IMS systems and allow you to provide real-time visibility into your available inventory.
By connecting all aspects of your retail fulfillment system, you can create real-time analytics on order statuses, workflows, overall cycle time, locations, and customer engagement. Making sure customers have a reliable picture of what’s available for purchase in-store will be a huge part of creating a BOPIS plan with high customer satisfaction.
2. A Mobile App or Mobile Optimized Site
This one isn’t strictly speaking a requirement, but with mobile commerce being a growing trend in ecommerce sales, it makes sense to make sure your site is ready to offer the optimum mobile experience.
This is especially true with BOPIS because shoppers won’t be at their computer when they’re on their way to the store to pick up their merchandise. Being able to provide real-time updates through mobile push notifications to let them know the status of their order and about last-minute changes or delays in their order can go a long way to improving the customer experience of your BOPIS offering.
3. A Brick-and-Mortar Store
Of course, having a mobile site only gets you the BO, you need a place for people to go to retrieve their order to complete the PIS. Your physical store can act as a hub for customers to pick up their items, and also offer them an opportunity to make further purchases while they’re in the store. Increasing foot traffic to your physical store and creating the opportunity for upsells is one of the advantages of a BOPIS system.
Choosing the Right Tech Stack
As should be made clear throughout this guide, the key to creating a BOPIS solution that will be an asset to—and not a distraction from—your business and your customers’ overall satisfaction comes down to your tech stack.
You need an ecommerce platform and inventory management system that are in lockstep. If you already have an ecommerce site and inventory management system that you’re happy with, you may be ready to go!
However, if you don’t yet have a platform that enables you to offer the frontend experience you want to meld your offline and online stores, can work with your backend systems to provide clear, real-time inventory management, and that also a provides stable, secure foundation for your ecommerce, it might be time to make a switch. This isn’t just true if you’re looking to add BOPIS to your ecommerce or physical store, but also for any customer experience or business generating innovation you want to pursue. Don’t let your ecommerce platform limit your growth.
BigCommerce is an open SaaS platform that seamlessly integrates with Brightpearl to make it easy to give customers more options for customers to engage with your brand offline, online, and everything in between.
If you’re interested in switching, one of the first steps is finding the right platform to meet your specific requirements. We’ve created this free RFP guide to help you narrow in on what you most need from your next platform. It’s editable so you can rank criteria and send it to your top choices to find out which will be the best fit.