The growth of omnichannel fulfillment programs such as buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup of online orders has been trending for several years now. That trend reached a tipping point in the last 12-plus months, as the COVID-19 pandemic led consumers to seek out safer, contactless shopping experiences. Equally embraced by consumers and retailers alike, and for many of the same reasons (e.g., cost savings on last-mile order delivery), BOPIS and curbside pickup have transitioned from nice-to-have to must-have services for brands with physical storefronts. Consider the following:
- According to Accenture Strategy’s Holiday Shipping study, released in December 2020, 65 percent of retailers either offer BOPIS or curbside pickup (or both) vs. 52 percent that did so in 2019.
- When looking specifically at curbside pickup, the growth is even more stark. According to Digital Commerce 360, the percentage of Top 500 North American e-commerce retailers offering curbside pickup jumped from just 6.9 percent in December 2019 to 43.7 percent in August 2020.
- Half of all consumers have decided where to shop online based on whether they could pick up their order in-store, according to a study from Invesp. Furthermore, at the time the Invesp research was released (June 2020), 67 percent of shoppers in the U.S. had made a BOPIS transaction in the previous six months.
With this data in mind, Total Retail, in conjunction with omnichannel commerce technology and operations provider Radial, recently produced a report to help retailers optimize their BOPIS and curbside pickup programs. The report, How to Guide for Doing BOPIS and Curbside Pickup Right, offers valuable information for retailers looking to improve existing BOPIS and curbside operations, as well as those looking to roll out such services for the first time.
For example, the report details the value of integrated data and technology systems within the supply chain, what retailers should be monitoring and measuring to evaluate the effectiveness of existing BOPIS and curbside programs, a case study featuring leading athletic brand Hibbett Sports and its journey to introduce curbside pickup at its store network, and best practices for improving BOPIS and curbside pickup performance. Regarding the latter, here's a sampling of those tips:
- Collect the right data, including customer, inventory, and order. Many retailers quickly rolled out BOPIS and curbside pickup at the outset of the pandemic as they were forced to offer the types of contactless shopping experiences that consumers were seeking. Now, a year later, they should have valuable data on BOPIS and curbside performance (e.g., customer satisfaction, time it takes to fulfill a BOPIS/curbside order, inventory accuracy for BOPIS/curbside orders, etc.). Use that data to identify areas of strength, doubling-down on them, as well as areas of weakness, where additional resources will need to be allocated.
- Invest in technology systems that integrate customer, inventory and order data that facilitate seamless BOPIS and curbside purchase experiences. Technology such as order management systems, inventory management systems, and predictive analytics provide the level of inventory visibility, in real time, that is at the center of any successful BOPIS and/or curbside pickup program. Integrated technology systems can lead to better decision making, optimized experiences, happier customers, and increased loyalty. Furthermore, the right technology solution can not only yield increased sales, but cost savings as well through improved demand planning, inventory allocation, and labor optimization.
- Collect customer feedback and use it to make program improvements. Post-purchase surveys, sent via email or text message after the customer has picked up their order, are a great way to learn about how your customers feel about the BOPIS and curbside experiences that your stores are providing. This first-party data is valuable for refining and optimizing processes, which can lead to a boost in repeat purchase rate.
You can download the full report, How to Guide for Doing BOPIS and Curbside Pickup Right, which includes additional data, best practices, and more, here.