Elizabeth Good, Operational Excellence Analyst
Brett Saunders, Operational Excellence Analyst
One technology-aided advance that shone for retailers and customers during the coronavirus outbreak was Buy Online Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS). Stores adjusted from in-store purchasing to substantial amounts of sales coming through an online platform. This provided a new revenue channel but changed the ways retailers interacted with customers as well as scheduled employees. Even after the pandemic fades, the BOPIS model will be here to stay. Retailers need to be on top of their game to keep their customers happy, whatever purchasing channel they use, and coming back for more.
BOPIS for omnichannel success
BOPIS is the intersection between online and in-store shopping. Stores that offer BOPIS as an option have another channel for sales and give customers more purchasing options. With a successfully executed BOPIS design, your company will see:
- Higher sales from customers that use the BOPIS model as they not only buy through the platform but often make additional in-store purchases when they pick up.
- Increased customer satisfaction by offering an omnichannel retail experience.
- Reduced delivery costs compared to strict online-only models.
- Reduced returns as the customer can confirm at two-points: online and in-store.
What does an ideal BOPIS setup look like?
A BOPIS offering must be focused on the customer. Communication, clear signage and accessibility are all key to achieving the best customer experience.
The goal here is to always have the store and customer aligned so they are ready for a perfect hand-off. The store should maintain active communication with the customer through text or email updates about their order, letting them know when it is ready for pick-up or if there are any issues. If an item is out of stock, stores can give customers alternate options to fulfill their needs. Simple options, such as picking up at another nearby store or waiting until an item can be shipped, will go a long way in achieving customer satisfaction. By giving the customer the opportunity to respond, the store will be more prepared, knowing when that customer will arrive and so can service them better.
Signage and instruction
Clear signage of the BOPIS area will allow the customer to quickly and easily identify where they need to go to pick up their order. Signage and instruction should begin as soon as the customer places an order. Information about pick-up and any other important information should be available directly after an order is placed. This gives the customer an idea of what is going to happen before entering the store. This then needs to be followed up with signs in-store. Ideally, the signage will be placed at the entrance of the store and give clear direction to the BOPIS site. The BOPIS area itself should have signage that clearly identifies it as the BOPIS area and that gives instructions regarding how to proceed to have the order fulfilled. It can also be helpful to install a QR code on the BOPIS setup to allow for customer feedback while in-store. They may have suggestions that will identify further areas of improvement for your process.
A big question is where to place the BOPIS area. Of course, the initial answer may be at the back of the store to get more impulse buys from the customer. However, the BOPIS model is still new and many customers using this service anticipate a simple and quick experience. This means prioritizing convenience to gain store loyalty and eventually have the customer make additional purchases. By placing the BOPIS area near the front entrance of the store, you will prevent disappointing customers who were prioritizing a fast and easy pick-up method. Instead, these customers will be satisfied and more inclined to return to the store in the future. To still achieve additional purchases but maintain convenience, you can place commonly purchased items and impulse buys on racks near the BOPIS area and make the checkout of these items—along with picking up their online order—seamless.
Customers appreciate being able to pick up their BOPIS orders as quickly as possible. Many chose BOPIS for the convenience factor. An additional offering to the BOPIS model is self-service BOPIS pick-ups. Usually in the form of secure lockers, customers arrive at the pick-up location with a personalized barcode and scan it at a locker station. From there, a locker door opens with their corresponding order. This method offers many benefits, both from a staffing and customer experience perspective, with speed and ease of product transfer.
Bringing BOPIS to another level: Personalization
Personalization will separate your BOPIS model from other stores and earn many repeat customers. If the customer was asked to log in during their BOPIS order, ensure that this BOPIS experience is specialized to them. Greet the customer with their name, offer individual rewards based on their previous orders, and allow for follow-up through their account. You can also offer suggestions based on their previous purchases, but be careful to not bombard the customer with notifications or emails to the point of frustration. The goal here is to recognize the customer as being highly valued and to make sure that they know that!
With ever-changing technological advances that affect retailers around the world, it is important for stores to stay up to date with customer offerings to remain competitive. BOPIS is here to stay. By offering communication with the customer about their order, providing clear signage and easily accessible placement of the BOPIS area, and personalizing their experience, your BOPIS setup will run smoothly and ensure repeat customers.
Of course, for the process to run correctly, it requires having the right staff at the right time. In that respect, a BOPIS model may seem complicated. How can you accurately predict and staff BOPIS operations, so the staffing is consistent and does not take away from other in-store operations? Keep an eye out for our next post that will cover BOPIS staffing strategies for success!