The Path to Buy Online, Pickup in Store Nirvana

As consumers have shown their growing preference for online shopping, buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS), also known as click and collect, is becoming the answer to returning footfall to physical stores by driving online traffic for merchandise collection.

According to recent iVend Retail research 60% of shoppers are already engaging in BOPIS. Retailers that implement the option are seeing a 5% increase in sales due to additional purchases while customers are in the store picking up their orders. This kind of incremental lift is what makes BOPIS a win-win for both shoppers and retailers.

However, BOPIS requires ecommerce and store systems to “play nice” with each other. For some retailers using legacy systems consisting of a patched together network of disparate information sources, this can be a challenge. A system upgrade will be necessary to truly make BOPIS work for you.

It Has to be Easy

Buy online, pickup in store must be easy, not just for your staff but more importantly, for shoppers. After all, the main reasons customers like BOPIS are speed and convenience — the same motivators for shopping online.

Ensure your staff is trained on your processes for fulfilling BOPIS orders. Don’t forget that it will all be new to your staff. They need new skills and additional training to ensure seamless and customer-friendly experiences.

Having a separate entrance or check out for online orders is essential. Don’t make your customer navigate the entire length or width of the store in order to retrieve a purchase. That in and of itself negates much of the convenience that’s the bedrock of buy online, pickup in store. Instead, locate your pickup center somewhere that’s easily located and not in a heavily trafficked part of the store. Having to battle a crowd wouldn’t make for a pleasant experience, as customers want to get in, get out and get on their way.

The Value Proposition of BOPIS

Make sure you communicate to your customers the many benefits of BOPIS:

  • Eliminating shipping fees is often the tipping point of whether a customer buys online for delivery or opts for in-store pickup.
  • Stress that BOPIS means no endless waiting for packages, tracking them throughout each step of the journey and hoping that FedEx/UPS/USPS doesn’t somehow lose or delay delivery.
  • It’s easy to return BOPIS/click-and-collect orders to a local store instead of dealing with the hassle of shipping: Hunting for a box or bag, making the trip to the U.S. Post Office or carrier location and waiting in line.

What’s in it for You?

More than a great deal for customers, it’s also a win for you. In some circles buy online, pickup in store is regarded as brick-and-mortar’s secret to surviving in retail today because it brings customers back to the store and in physical proximity to your products again. Many retailers are embracing it to build customer loyalty through convenience and flexibility.

At the end of the shopping day it comes down to offering buying options shoppers have come to expect. Enabling your customers to browse and shop your entire selection online and pick up their purchases at your store keeps you competitive and relevant in terms of current shopper trends.

Paula Da Silva is Senior Vice President of Sales for CitiXsys

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