With 90% of retail sales still happening in-store, the retail apocalypse may have been overblown — but ecommerce sales grow year-over-year. The ease of online ordering and free shipping are enough to keep consumers home more often, leaving brick-and-mortar retailers trying to find ways to attract online shoppers to their stores.
But retailers have found traction with buy-online pick-up in-store, or BOPIS. For retailers, what’s not to love? They get foot traffic in their stores, have better control over the customer experience, and can increase sales. And it’s becoming more familiar with shoppers: 68% of shoppers have made multiple BOPIS orders, and 37% of online shoppers made an additional unplanned purchase when they picked up their order in-store.
Brick-and-mortar retailers offering BOPIS should promote BOPIS as a value-add across their digital marketing channels — especially email marketing. Here are some ways to incorporate BOPIS into your day-to-day email marketing campaigns.
Using the location of customers to pinpoint their nearest store allows retailers to provide a convenient, practical reminder of the service inside each email. This dynamic content can include specific store information, such as address and store hours, to make it easy for your customers to contact or visit you. You can include this in every message, whether promotional or automated.
Welcome series and automated messages
Introduce the benefits of BOPIS service to new email subscribers. This can either be a stand-alone message explaining the benefits of BOPIS (no delivery fees, quick fulfillment, in-store returns, try-on before you leave the store, etc.) or secondary content. Also, look for other automated messages, such as automated birthday or anniversary emails, where promoting BOPIS makes sense.
Holidays and other special events
Take advantage of shoppers’ procrastination by promoting BOPIS in stand-alone messaging as key dates approach. For instance, suggest it when the December shopping season begins to wind down. During this time, either expedited delivery needs to be paid for or guaranteed delivery is no longer an option. The availability of BOPIS makes shopping with your company that much more enticing.
Touting BOPIS is one way to secure a sale, reminding customers they can buy now and have the gift in-hand today. Look for other holidays or key dates, such as anniversaries and birthdays, where there may be a sense of urgency for fulfillment.
Many retailers have trained customers to expect discounts, winding up in an endless cycle of discounting just to keep up with the competition. But including incentives for using BOPIS may can satisfy consumers’ desire for a deal while still protecting margins. These incentives can come in a variety of forms, such as monetary discounts, complimentary products or gifts with pick-up orders, or free gift wrapping.
Remember two things. First, you are protecting margins and retaining price flexibility by not shipping directly to the customer. Remember, 37% of shoppers make unplanned purchases when using BOPIS, allowing you to increase the average spend per customer.
Using the framework mentioned above, offer a sale only for BOPIS-fulfilled orders. These sales can be promoted in a variety of ways, such as a BOPIS flash sale or a made-up “national in-store spring cleaning” holiday. Running campaigns like these can even help you determine the potential success of replicating them during your peak holiday season. Just be sure to segment and exclude any email subscribers who do not have a retail location nearby.
For brick-and-mortar retailers, BOPIS offers a lot of competitive differentiators. It satisfies consumers’ desire for quick fulfilment and easy returns, it caters to last-minute shoppers, and the store environment can provide for an exceptional customer shopping experience.
Finding ways to capitalize on the value BOPIS offers, especially when it comes to marketing channels like email, is important for creating a consumer-friendly omnichannel shopping experience and maximizing revenue.
Greg Zakowicz is a Senior Commerce Marketing Analyst at Oracle Netsuite