By now, most retailers understand that customer experience (CX) is a priority when it comes to ecommerce. Providing an excellent online shopping experience is even more important than the quality of the product or service, per nearly two thousand businesses in a recent SuperOffice survey. According to the survey, 45% of respondents listed customer experience as their number one priority.
Retailers have come a long way in improving the customer experience for shoppers, focusing on personalization, omnichannel shopping experiences, and better overall customer relationship management. However, there is one area where many retailers still fall short—order management.
As with any challenge, addressing order management’s role in delivering a leading online shopping experience presents some key opportunities for retailers who can quickly and reliably fulfill e-commerce sales.
The importance of omnichannel fulfillment
Alternate fulfillment methods for e-commerce purchases were already popular before the pandemic, with 78% of consumers frequently utilizing options that included Buy-Online-Pick-Up-In-Store (BOPIS), Reserve-Online-Pick-Up-In-Store (ROPIS), and curbside pickup. Now, nearly two years into the pandemic, 30% of online shoppers say they prefer using BOPIS over standard delivery.
But among retailers, there remain serious gaps in the ability to provide the wide range of fulfillment options that consumers increasingly demand. Stores that don’t adapt to this consumer expectation risk falling behind those that do.
A clear example of this is traditional shopping malls, many of which don’t have room to store inventory for pickup orders and where most stores (with the exception of anchor stores) don’t have exterior doors. The logistics of most mall parking lots also make it difficult for employees to bring packages outside to a customer’s car. Black Friday mall foot traffic was down by 49.6%, mainly due to the lack of BOPIS and other low-contact fulfillment options.
But while customers may not be shopping in malls or with retailers who don’t provide omnichannel shopping experiences, it’s clear they are still willing to buy, particularly through e-commerce channels. US consumers spent 32.4 more online in 2020 versus 2019—just under $792 billion, representing the highest annual US e-commerce growth in twenty years. This rapid adoption of e-commerce has created a growing opportunity for organizations that make omnichannel fulfillment a priority.
Boscov’s BOPIS Program
One clear example of how a traditional retailer successfully implemented a BOPIS program is Boscov, the US’s oldest family-owned department store. Established over a century ago, Boscov has 47 stores in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US. They launched a BOPIS initiative in 2016 as an extension of their existing e-commerce offering, which was launched a few years earlier. Boscov’s approach included the following steps:
- They examined their competitors’ BOPIS programs, paying close attention to the end-to-end consumer experience.
- They built out the technical infrastructure of the program using Kibo, a unified commerce platform whose order management system integrated with Boscov’s in-house ecommerce solution.
- They took a four-phased approach to launch their in-store pickup process, ensuring adequate training of all employees in using the technology and understanding the process behind the BOPIS program.
Boscov’s BOPIS program resulted in a 40% attachment rate—every $100 of BOPIS spend results in an additional $40 of in-store spend.
As we approach the 2021 shopping season, it’s more important than ever for retailers to provide alternative fulfillment options like BOPIS. Consumers, having embraced BOPIS, ROPIS, curbside pickup, and other programs during the pandemic, are demanding convenience regardless of location. It’s not enough to simply provide online options for pickup, particularly when your competitors are making the entire experience quicker, easier, and more enjoyable.