Now more than ever, it’s important for retailers to deliver products to the hands of customers where and when they want them. Shoppers want choice and flexibility in how their orders are fulfilled, and they want to be able to complete their purchases or make returns quickly and efficiently. In an age when shoppers are conditioned to walk away from a purchase if the shipping fees are too high or if home delivery takes longer than two days, retailers can no longer afford to back-burner innovative order fulfillment options.
To combat this challenge, the savviest of retailers are adopting the buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) model and the buy online, return in-store (BORIS) model to compete against the likes of Amazon.com. For example, Walmart and Target are effectively utilizing their physical stores as hubs for fulfillment as a way to blend the online and offline experience.
This isn't a fast fleeing fad either; it's a full-on expectation. In our recent omnichannel survey, 61 percent of retailers said that BOPIS and BORIS are at the top of their omnichannel plans and investments.
Retailers understand the importance of enabling these fulfillment options to eliminate the pains of shipping and processing, but how can a sound BOPIS and BORIS strategy ensure that they deliver a seamless purchase and return experience that actually drives customer loyalty and improves the bottom line?
Optimize the Purchasing Process
When it comes to BOPIS, it’s important for retailers to create convenience by enabling customers to complete online purchases, simultaneously selecting the time and store location to pick up purchased products. This also ensures the item is in stock so that shoppers don’t have to waste precious time searching store aisles. Retailers can take it one step further by enabling customers to drive up to the store location and pick up purchased products without ever leaving their car. Consumers are crunched for time more than ever before. Therefore, giving shoppers a more seamless experience that allows them to easily purchase products and pick them up in the same day at their convenience will go a long way in creating lasting customer loyalty (and drive in-store traffic).
Take the Hassle Out of Returns
There's no getting around the fact that consumers are likely to return items purchased online if they aren’t satisfied with the product. While retailers often fret about loss of revenue due to returns, creating an easy BORIS process can not only improve the customer experience, but also create opportunities to upsell. For example, through an in-app BORIS program, shoppers can easily access their purchase history, in-app receipts, and simplify the return or exchange process at the customer service counter or self-service kiosk by simply scanning a QR code to receive a refund or exchange an item for a different one. Making the returns process seamless leaves consumers happy and will make them more likely to make a future purchase. Additionally, as consumers journey to the store to return a product, they'll likely browse inventory and discover new products they may not have thought about purchasing before.
In addition to making the BORIS process even more profitable, retailers can use the power of an in-store mobile app to offer customers a discount on a similar product category or send a push notification highlighting a new product line. Meeting consumers on their most personal device helps to continue driving an elevated customer experience. Think of BORIS as a critical touchpoint to take advantage of consumers’ heightened attention, and create an opportunity to re-engage and upsell. By utilizing the power of push notifications, retailers can create a path-to-purchase experience that increases revenue and boosts shopper retention.
With BOPIS and BORIS omnichannel fulfillment solutions, retailers have the ability to offer consumers multiple ways to fulfill orders, driving in-store traffic and increasing revenue. For consumers, the convenience of picking which items they want immediately — and which items are worth waiting for — creates even more lasting loyalty and brand affinity. In short, both retailers and consumers are definitely all about BOPIS and BORIS.
Casey Gannon is global vice president of marketing at Shopgate, a mobile commerce platform.
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