Promotion: The Missing BOPIS Link

When it comes to developing strategies for omnichannel retail, operational logistics are a huge priority. Ecommerce and in-store shopping converge when retailers offer buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS), which many shoppers know as click and collect.

Store floorplans often need to be modified. New procedures need to be put in place. Perhaps most importantly, staff must also be trained to make the in-store pickup experience a seamless one. But what good is organizing systems and people to support this service if customers don’t know you offer it?

Marketing the availability of in-store pickup happens less often than you’d think. For whatever reason, retailers regularly fail to generate the additional sales promised by BOPIS adoption when they fail to market it once they have it.

U.S. Retailers Least Likely to Market BOPIS

Let’s get a look at the big picture – the global state of BOPIS. In-store pickup services are offered by 37% of retailers around the world, according to our recent research. But of those click-and-collect retailers, only 55.1% promote in-store pickup capabilities on the first page of their website. What’s more, almost 45% of them don’t mention it until checkout.

When reviewing U.S. websites, we found only 38.5% of BOPIS-capable retailers promote it. What a missed opportunity. Compare this to the other end of the spectrum, where 66.7% of Australian BOPIS retailers advertise in-store pickup services. Clearly, we’ve got some ground to make up.

BOPIS Can’t Be a Last-Minute “Surprise and Delight”

Waiting until checkout to inform customers of in-store pickup availability impacts their buying journey, but not in the way you’d like. Unintentionally, this failure may lead your customer right off your online store and onto a competitor’s site. This happens when your customers want more convenient shopping options, speed or a greater sense of control.

If a customer is new to your online store, it’s fair to assume they’ll do some price comparison as they shop. As they bounce back and forth, the convenience of in-store pickup may be the deciding factor to finish the transaction with you. Let them know upfront they can come into the store, bypass the lines and touch and feel the product before taking it home.  

Simple Messaging from the Start Keeps Them Shopping

Your product offering should be the star of the show. But marketing in-store pickup doesn’t need to distract from the online shopping experience to be effective. Forget popup ads or disruptive, flashy banners. Most leading omnichannel retailers make both shipping and pick-up options known through text headers at the top of the page.

Consider the fact that many retailers prioritize a mention of “free shipping” on their homepage. Free shipping, especially when offered based on order value, often encourages consumers to spend more than they originally intended. Advertising for free shipping drives sales.

While free shipping for customers is not free to you, promoting the BOPIS option highlights a fulfillment method that save you the cost of shipping. It can also add speed, convenience and control to the shopper’s journey. What’s more, given that 58% of in-store pickups result in additional sales, it’s clear that marketing your BOPIS option is essential for returning full value on your technology investment.

Process, Promote and Perfect

The final step to close the loop and deliver value is to perfect the process. Refine the customer experience as you go. And as you do so, consider the power of marketing at each touchpoint.

For example, imagine that you have made the in-store pickup promotion prominent on your website and a shopper completes an online order. What happens next? In the confirmation email or text, you should provide easy-to-follow instructions. Help customers through the pickup process. Since BOPIS is an emerging service offered by select retailers, customers may be intimidated by trying something new.

To address that concern, make sure communication is clear. Be upfront about when the order will be ready. Give shoppers notification options. Make the experience both convenient and enjoyable so they’ll do it again.

In-store pickup is beneficial for many reasons. It’s a differentiator in an already competitive industry. It helps retailers save on shipping costs while adding convenience and flexibility to the shopping experience. By adopting and then effectively marketing BOPIS services, you have nothing to lose and only sales to gain.

Nick McLean is the CEO of OrderDynamics

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