Think Brick-and-Mortar is Dead? Find Out How BOPIS Can Strengthen Customer Relationships
Recent data found that nearly 70 percent of shoppers have made multiple buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) purchases, and over half have decided where to buy a product online based on whether they can pick it up in-store.
BOPIS continues to grow in popularity among consumers, and for good reason — it combines the convenience and self-guided experience of e-commerce with the instant gratification of same-day pickup.
As such, many retailers — including Home Depot, Nordstrom, Target, and Walmart — have adopted the BOPIS model to support their e-commerce platforms and respond to customer delivery demands. And while it can be a great way to better cater to customer needs, "click and collect" also poses some important challenges.
Seamless Execution is Key
Needless to say, executing a friction- and frustration-free BOPIS experience is essential to the customer walking away with a positive outlook. This is easier said than done, as the end-to-end process is wrought with potential missteps.
Consider these scenarios: while the customer is waiting in line to pick up their product in-store, they receive an email with a discount coupon for that exact product, as if they had not ordered it yet; or they see a mobile ad for a product they bought last week.
Or consider the flip side: Are you missing opportunities to extend an offer for a complementary product while the customer is in-store? Did they partially abandon a cart, and you missed a chance to email them while they're waiting in-store?
Given the time compression and use of multiple channels in a BOPIS experience, there's a greater chance of a broken experience. If the customer has a poor experience, it’s unlikely that he or she will make regular BOPIS purchases in the future. This is a lost opportunity for the retailer to build a deeper relationship with that customer and, subsequently, is also a missed opportunity for increased revenue.
Personalization Strengthens the Relationship
So, how can retailers optimize BOPIS as a strategic fulfillment option and strengthen customer relationships? By using a precise, single customer view accessible in real time, coupled with automated machine learning to deliver a personalized experience from start to finish.
With machine learning and unified customer profiles — i.e., ones that aggregate transactions, behaviors and various identities across channels in real time — retailers will be able to deliver a relevant, personalized experience within minutes of the customer purchasing an item online. This includes sending emails or texts in real time with pickup instructions (e.g., directions, store hours, etc.), sharing relevant offers for product accessories, and surfacing website content tailored to the customer’s preferences.
Staying in Step With the Customer
To be successful with BOPIS, retailers must also have a strong strategy in place for omnichannel customer engagement.
Modern consumers are accustomed to omnichannel experiences. Without putting much thought into it, they expect retailers to be able to execute on omnichannel experiences flawlessly, moving from digital channels to in-store and back again.
An effective solution for implementation is one that gives retailers a single point of control over customer data, enabling omnichannel orchestration efforts and successful BOPIS implementation. Utilization of machine learning and artificial intelligence models will also enable retailers to take BOPIS a step further by offering real-time, next-best actions throughout the entire process.
Consumers in Control
We’re living in the age of the empowered consumer; they're in full control of their own customized, dynamic buying journey. From their point of view, each touchpoint — regardless of channel — complements another.
Recent research found that 63 percent of consumers expect personalization as a standard of service. Furthermore, they feel like a brand recognizes them as an individual when they're sent unique special offers (52 percent) and are recognized as a customer across all touchpoints (43 percent).
Mastering omnichannel marketing and new customer engagement strategies like BOPIS will produce the outcomes every retailer wants: more transactions and more satisfied, loyal customers.
John Nash is the chief marketing and strategy officer at Redpoint Global, a customer data platform and engagement hub.