The emergence of purchasing online and picking up in store, in addition to in-store returns for internet purchases, is driving consumer purchasing expectations. But less than half of bodily retailers provide these capabilities.
What follows are key elements in implementing BOPIS — purchase online, pick up in-store.
It begins with awareness.
Best Buy wisely does not wait until the item detail page to market BOPIS. By incorporating its offering early in the browse encounter, Best Buy grabs consumers in the consideration stage, presenting a compelling alternative to the convenience of Amazon Prime.
Additionally, Best Buy leverages store-specific real-time stock to drive home scarcity — if shoppers are rushing to purchase a tv for the big game or to see another installment of Game of Thrones, they act now.
The best retailers equipment confirmation emails into the BOPIS order.
These emails should include the typical order details. But they also should anticipate the needs of clients as they visit the shop, for example (I) what they have to bring to regain their purchase, (ii) links to the speech on maps, (iii) special parking information, and (iv) where to go in the shop.
It is useful, too, to add a photograph or other visual of what clients should look for upon entrance. The objective is to streamline the experience, leaving no question unanswered.
Brick-and-mortar retailers know the worth of convenient parking. It is especially important in dense urban areas. Dedicated parking appeals to time-starved shoppers. Moreover, BOPIS parking places act as billboards, advertising the capacity for more traditional shoppers.
In the Shop
Early variations of this BOPIS experience were often poorly implemented. Consumers needed to stand in checkout lines to track down their orders. And retailers forced commission-driven sales associates to help BOPIS customers.
The best retailers today produce loyal experiences for in-store pickup. These retailers can easily retrieve the orders without deflecting (and frustrating) sales partners.
Why have so many retailers failed to incorporate ecommerce with in-store pickup? The clearest answer is cost. It is expensive to overhaul backend logistics, retrofit shops, and train workers. A less obvious problem is that the rate at which BOPIS is evolving. Many retailers struggle to obtain the best match for them and their clients.
But innovative businesses are experimenting — highlighting the advantages of in-store shopping. Nordstrom, a reported acquisition goal of Amazon, is analyzing BOPIS variants from curbside pickup to”book online and attempt in-store.” Nordstrom has also experimented with smaller, inventory-free places — only for pickup.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is experimenting with in-store lockers for item pickup, as is fashion retailer Express. While in-store lockers don’t burden sales partners (and differently makes for efficient client experiences), it arguably reduces the value of in-store visits. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, nearly two-thirds of BOPIS clients made one or more purchases while they were at the shop. That is a tremendous opportunity if clients walk out with their orders without even speaking to workers.
…innovative businesses are experimenting — highlighting the advantages of in-store shopping.
If the locker experiments prove rewarding, expect other retailers to use them with cross-merchandising tactics. Picking up a new sweater? You may come across an optional scarf on your locker to choose this.
Specialty retailers like REI and Lululemon offer unconventional, in-store experiences. REI offers climbing classes. Lululemon’s classes allow shoppers field-test yoga pants.
Online returns are just another in-store merchandising opportunity. After all, these customers have shown buying intent. Returning in-store allows the merchant to indicate alternatives to size, fit, or missteps of a well-intentioned gift giver.
In a nutshell, there are lots of ways to leverage in-store visits. As consumer expectations rise as well as the challenges from Amazon bracket, start looking for more experimentation from retailers.