Why Aren’t More Retailers Talking About ROPIS?

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While it is evident that retailers, particularly in North America, have been slow to adopt click and collect (or Buy Online Pickup in Store, aka BOPIS), retailers are even further behind when it comes to providing Reserve Online Pickup in Store (ROPIS) as a fulfillment option for shoppers.

ROPIS is different from click and collect in that it doesn’t require shoppers to complete the purchase online. Instead they put it on hold at the store in order to view it or try it in person before fully committing to the purchase. ROPIS is a huge missed opportunity, especially for retailers who are selling oversized items, products that require a certain fit or other high-end, expensive goods.

More retailers need to be talking about ROPIS and exploring it as an option to drive omnichannel sales. When thinking of ROPIS, there are a few key use cases that come to mind, along with reasons why retailers need to integrate this fulfillment method into their omnichannel strategy.

Home Furnishings and Large Appliances

In recent years, online players like Wayfair and Overstock.com have gained a strong foothold in the furniture and home décor market. They have mastered the art of selling and delivering oversized purchases that were traditionally sold in large showroom environments. So, is there still a place for traditional furniture retailers? Yes, and the secret lies in ROPIS.

In fact, traditional furniture retailers have a huge advantage over pure plays. Brick-and-mortar locations allow these showroom-style retailers to let customers see, touch and test in person before completing the purchase. A perfect use case for ROPIS.

Unlike the home furnishings market, no one has seemed to capture the online share of large home appliance sales. This is a solid opportunity for appliance and DIY retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s. In the same way that ROPIS makes sense for the home furnishing industry, it should be an easy answer for retailers looking to increase omnichannel home appliance sales.

Luxury and Apparel

Another miss for ROPIS is in luxury and apparel items. With inconsistent sizing from brand to brand and retailer to retailer, it’s often difficult to purchase apparel or shoes online, and when you do, you often have to face the headache of the returns process.

Although most apparel retailers gravitate toward BOPIS for the first-time customer, one way to entice the shopper is to reduce their risk of purchase. They might be unwilling to purchase outright, without first seeing it in person and testing the fit personally. Offering ROPIS means they don’t have to commit to the purchase. They can try it on and make sure the item is ready for them in their size.

Furthermore, with high-end luxury goods, shoppers often want to see and feel the authenticity and perceive the quality before committing to an often-significant purchase. ROPIS might be just the key to get them customer to take another step along the path to purchase. After all, if you’re looking to spend $2,000-plus on that hot Louis Vuitton backpack, you want to make sure you’re getting the real deal before slapping down your credit card. Plus, you’d hate for it to sell out before you get to the store.

Part of a Broader Omnichannel Strategy

While ROPIS should be a no brainer for many retailers, it shouldn’t be the only omnichannel fulfillment strategy. It should be part of a broader approach that includes BOPIS, various delivery methods and return options that complement a retailer’s assortment and serve its clientele’s needs.

No matter the retailer vertical, ROPIS allows consumers to avoid hassling with unnecessary, costly returns, leading to a better overall customer experience. Ultimately, ROPIS eliminates a level of risk for both retailers and consumers, increasing loyalty and saving costs and headaches for both parties.

It also brings shoppers into the store. This increases a retailer’s revenue opportunity as 59% of pickups lead to additional purchases, according to various industry reports. So, without hesitation, retailers need to begin testing their ROPIS capabilities and make it available as a fulfillment option.

Nick McLean is CEO of OrderDynamics

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