BOPIS: Retail's Next Frontier of Competitive Advantage
A shopper visits a retail store after researching online and doesn't like anything he sees. An associate then offers to show him additional collections on an iPad. Scanning online offerings and reviews, the shopper decides to buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS) the same day.
Such shoppers are increasingly common in the U.S. and UK. In the realm of omnichannel shopping, the ability for consumers to research, select, reserve and pay for products online, then pick up in-store is an innovation that elegantly addresses the mind-set of today's shoppers. Nearly 80 percent of purchases are researched online, and one of consumers’ objections to purchasing online is they haven't touched or seen the product. Shoppers can also become highly frustrated when a product they want is out of stock at the store.
Over the last three years, BOPIS has become mainstream, with 88 percent of top 100 U.S. retailers offering the service. Thirty percent of retailers added the capability in 2013, but there's a long way to go for customer experience and business value to be optimized. Only 45 percent of retailers have extended BOPIS capabilities to include the ability to ship products from fulfillment centers to stores, 25 percent provide real-time visibility to inventory levels, and 16 percent suggest alternatives for out-of-stock products.
Having more robust supply chain and inventory management capabilities can increase sales and improve customer satisfaction. Some online experiences offer room for improvement: 18 percent of retailers enable shoppers to filter and view those search results eligible for pickup in-store, 53 percent support mixed carts (home delivery for some items and pickup for others), and 74 percent provide robust communication throughout the transaction (e.g., an email alerting the customer that their product is ready to be picked up). Yet only half support text messaging. Providing intuitive, transparent user experiences can drive adoption and improve conversion rates.