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Buy Online Pickup In Store

Buy Online Pickup In Store: BOPIS Growth Requires a New Metrics Mindset

What is BOPIS?

Thanks to its popularity with shoppers, Buy Online, Pickup In Store, aka BOPIS, is now a must for retailers. Implementing the service successfully not only requires overhauls to online and store offerings, but a fresh approach to performance metrics to reflect the new omnichannel reality.

Despite the growing popularity and availability of BOPIS, most omnichannel retailers don’t know how it impacts the bottom line. Seven in 10 merchants say they’re unsure whether their BOPIS operation is profitable, according to Incisiv; technology researcher Forrester found just 14% of retailers completely agree that they have the right metrics in place to measure BOPIS omnichannel efforts.

The lack of insight into BOPIS performance may stem from the continuing dominance of the “last-click” mentality concerning retail analytics. Merchants who use last-click attribution credit revenue to the most recent touchpoint shoppers used before ordering. The model is a poor fit for the come-and-go, research-intensive, channel-hopping reality of shopping today,; interestingly, eMarketer found that more than 40% of merchants still assign credit to a single touchpoint.

BOPIS Retail Strategy

For example, retailers could credit the eCommerce site as the driver of BOPIS orders, while assigning purchases of additional items on order pickup to stores — splitting what should be a holistic picture. Siloed data prevents merchants from tracking the efficiency of the BOPIS process from end to end and pinpointing where improvements are needed.

To get an accurate picture of BOPIS’ impact, merchants need to rethink their metrics along with their operations. They should:

1) Obsess Over Time to Delivery — whether in-store, curbside, or at home

BOPIS can meet consumers’ escalating need for swift order fulfillment — but only if retailers deliver on its promise of fast, convenient pickup. Inefficiencies are still rampant; Chain Store Age reports that 77% of retailers primarily ship orders from a central eCommerce distribution center rather than from nearby stores, which could be less costly as well as quicker.

2) Capture and Track Store Associates’ BOPIS-related Activities

Logging staff hours spent on the order pickup desk isn’t enough; merchants should also track who picks how many orders and when, as well as which store zones contain goods most frequently bought via BOPIS orders, and adjust associate assignments accordingly.

3) Survey BOPIS Customers

Merchants should proactively seek customer experience feedback by tapping Buy Online Pickup In Store customers for surveys that specifically address the online/offline experience; this includes online inventory accuracy, navigating the store to the pickup counter, and what other aisles customers shopped on their visit.

How do you measure BOPIS retail success?

GDPR requirements

GDPR Requirements: Why Merchants Should Stay Ahead with Privacy Practices

Last year marked the start of a new wave of digital privacy regulation that has now reached U.S. shores. To successfully navigate the changing tides, merchants should embrace both the spirit and the letter of new GDPR requirements and institute transparent privacy controls across touchpoints.

As of last May, Europe’s GDPR requires companies to request consumer consent prior to collecting data; in addition, they must provide the tools for severing the agreement at any time. The year prior, Canadian anti-spam legislation went into effect, impacting not just email but social media and SMS practices.

In the U.S., the start of 2019 marked implementation of a Vermont law regulating online data brokers;next year California will enact what is set to become the strictest data privacy law in the country. Several other states have passed new data collection rules, leaving merchants who are increasingly reliant on consumer data for personalization wondering how they can navigate the choppy legislative waters.

Happily, regulatory compliance can also satisfy consumers’ dual desire for control and relevance. Deloitte found that 73% of consumers are willing to share data if they have control. Furthermore, 6 in 10 consumers say they’d like to receive individualized discounts or promotions. To strike the right privacy balance, merchants should:

Explain GDPR Requirement Practices Plainly, Early and Often

Merchants should parse the legalese in their privacy policies into plain English for GDPR requirements; this succinct version then can be used in a pop-up box or even on-page to quickly summarize their company’s data collection practices and obtain consent.

Implement Best Practices for Email

Email firm Litmus found that the majority of GDPR-compliant brands saw their list size decrease by 10% or less. Nonetheless, merchants should carefully vet their signup and sending protocols, and apply double opt-in routines as well as prominent opt-out language.

Offer a Comprehensive Preference Center

Savvy merchants have long offered email subscribers “preference centers” for throttling messaging cadence and content. Now they can use the same concept to offer easy access to a broad set of data preferences: from email to SMS to stored size and color picks. To make these controls prominent, merchants should take a page from StitchFix and other popular subscription services; requiring shoppers to build — and maintain — a “style profile” ensures relevance.

GDPR requirements

Prepare to communicate proactively about data breaches.

In the event of a data breach, the fallout in lost sales and reputation damage can be significant. Sellers should have a response plan at the ready that spells out at least the nature and extent of the breach. Additionally, the response plan should show what steps the brand is planning to take to repair security in the future, and what services will be offered to data theft victims.

What steps are you taking to prepare for privacy regulatory compliance?

Learn how Kibo approaches GDPR requirements for the businesses and consumers.

o2o online to offline

How to Promote O2O Beyond the Product Page

Today’s path to purchase criss-crosses the online/offline divide multiple times en route to order completion. In order to showcase their options to serve shoppers, merchants should promote o2o- offline services in a variety of ways online; namely, not just with a store pickup option on the product page.

What is o2o Commerce?

By now the evidence is overwhelming that shoppers prefer to use online tools to research offline purchases; more than half of all retail sales are influenced by online interactions, according to technology researcher Forrester. In stores, shoppers remain connected to the wealth of product information available online via their phones; some 71% of shoppers pull out their mobile devices while in the aisles, according to Mobile Marketer.

Merchants have adapted to this changing behavior by placing a greater focus on flexible fulfillment services; some popular options include universal inventory visibility and Buy Online, Pickup In-Store. To ensure shoppers know about those services – as well as other tactile “see and try” store experiences – sellers must thoroughly integrate online-to-offline (O2O) messaging in online promotions. Among the tactics to try:

1. Think O2O(2O) with consultative sales promotions

Merchants should encourage online shoppers to make store visits to evaluate goods prior to purchase; additionally, they should equip store associates with the online tools to source exactly the right items from across the retailer’s entire inventory selection. Nordstrom heavily promotes several flavors of in-store stylist services throughout its eCommerce site, from “gift scout” helpers for finding presents to personal shopping assistants. Seasonal promotions such as this spring makeup consultation event are highlighted on the home page.

2. Convince cart abandoners to complete orders … anywhere they want to

Triggered emails intended to convince shopping cart abandoners to complete online purchases may seem an odd location for offline promotion. But retailers that have eliminated internal barriers to innovation recognize that winning the sale, wherever it occurs, is what matters; consequently, giving hesitant online shoppers multiple avenues for completing their purchase boosts the odds that they’ll find the right fulfillment fit.

3. Mind the offline online marketing opportunities

“Offline” or “off-page” SEO refers to activities on properties other than the flagship eCommerce site that affect search engine ranking – and the concept is just as valid for O2O marketing. Merchants should not only monitor social media mentions, but listings on Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google Reviews. Prompt and thoughtful replies to criticism and amplification of positive feedback (with permission) via other marketing channels heighten perceptions that shoppers’ voices matter; it shows retailers are willing to adapt their offline offerings in response to online feedback. Paid placements on social media and review platforms offering discounts or VIP experiences to store visitors can reach shoppers as they weigh where to go.

How are you promoting online-to-offline opportunities and services? Learn how with Kibo.

website personalization b2b

3 Ways Website Personalization Helps Highlight B2B’s Unique Strengths Online

In recent years, B2B companies have been advised to adopt tactics like website personalization from the world of B2C retail if they want to thrive in the era of omnichannel commerce. But given corporate buyers’ preference for experiences tailored to their company needs, B2B companies would do well to emphasize — not eliminate — the unique characteristics of their business if they want to stand out from the crowd.

It’s true that B2B buyers increasingly desire convenience and accessibility. More than two thirds of corporate purchasing agents prefer self-service product research over working with a sales rep; this is a jump of  23% from 2015, according to technology researcher Forrester.  Amazon is making strides in B2B ecommerce with a business version of its dominant eCommerce site; from which these reviews, recommendations, and Prime shipping service shape consumers’ online expectations for product content, convenience and savings.

But as they strive to emulate Amazon’s features, B2B companies risk losing out on what makes them unique. The current push to provide generic B2C-like experiences runs contrary to B2B business’ long tradition of customized customer relationships, from tailored catalogs to unique payment terms.

Corporate buyers seek out B2B sellers that can adopt this one-to-one approach online. More than three quarters of B2B purchasing agents want to see content specific to their company; additionally two-thirds expect information specific to their industry, according to Demand Gen.

B2B merchants who prioritize website personalization can use it to deliver:

1.) Products and content attuned to the phase of the B2B purchase cycle.

Based on prior interactions and predictive intelligence, personalization can pinpoint whether site visitors are in research mode or ready to buy; this aspect is imperative to present them not only with relevant content, but with live sales or support connections. Post-purchase, timely replenishment reminders and upgrade offers can spur re-engagement.

2.) A custom B2B catalog experience

Personalization tools can combine business rules with behavioral insights to present products and recommendations within pre-set parameters, along with custom pricing and bundling options. Predictive personalization capabilities can also flag potential new product categories of interest — helping B2B suppliers capitalize on cross-divisional sales opportunities.

3.) Tailor the purchase process to individual corporate customers

B2B merchants can customize the online checkout process to accommodate customer-specific needs such as P.O. generation and purchase approval routines, while personalization software tools in  tandem with saved account data can enable quick access to tailored re-ordering options.

How is your B2B business harnessing website personalization to serve corporate customers? Kibo personalization can help you soar higher. Learn more here

online to offline O2O shopping

O2O: 4 Easy Ways To Drive Online to Offline Store Visits Via Social Media

As online mobile shopping grows, omnichannel retailers should take advantage of social media’s dominance to promote the benefits of online to offline commerce.

Mobile devices play a role in a third of all retail transactions at some point on the path to purchase, with mobile purchases making up 40% of all online sales, Adweek reported. Many of those transactions take place offline, as shoppers browse products online and purchase offline. Four in five consumers who want an item immediately prefer to purchase in a store, and 61% prefer shopping with a brand with physical outlets as well as an online presence, Google found.

To reach mobile O2O consumers, retail brands have optimized their mobile sites and launched shopping apps. But mobile also strengthens marketers’ arguments for investment in social media.

The hunt for direct ROI on social investments has long bedeviled merchants but on mobile, there’s no doubt that social media dominates. Three-quarters of the minutes U.S. adults spend interacting with social media occur on mobile devices, according to Nielsen. Facebook and Facebook Messenger are the top two mobile apps; ranking slightly below, Instagram and Snapchat make the top 10, comScore found, while the only retail app to make the top 20 is Amazon’s.

That means social platforms give retail brands an unmatched opportunity for visibility, especially among new audiences who might not otherwise navigate to a brand’s mobile Web site or app. Consequently, because mobile device content can be context-aware, promoting unique store experiences is a natural fit. To do so:

Increase Foot Traffic: Offer store-specific coupons, scannable direct from the smartphone.

Sprout Social found that special discounts or coupons are what consumers want most from brands on social media; incidentally, merchants should give followers access to store-exclusive discounts to encourage foot traffic.

Personalized Interactions: Localize social messaging for customer service.

Two in three consumers say they use social media to contact brands, according to Social Media Today. Built-in messaging tools such as Facebook Messenger can help merchants meet high expectations for swift response times. Messenger aids with routing inquiries to local staff which not only addresses questions more meaningfully than a call center response, but connects shoppers with local names and faces in the process.

Some leading brands are even localizing social messaging chatbots to schedule in-store services such as repairs, stylist appointments, and classes, as Sephora does with its Facebook Messenger chatbot.

Drive Conversions: Promote store events using Stories.

Viewership for Instagram Stories, which link images and videos in a short sequence, may soon beat the News Feed as the top social media viewing mode. Merchants should use Stories to spotlight store activities like:

  1. In-store events
  2. How-to videos showcasing local staff expertise
  3. Interactive polls gathering input on store displays
  4. Local specials

Grow Store Revenue: Consider localized social media ad plays.

As organic reach declines due to stiffening competition and algorithm changes, merchants are increasing ad spend to guarantee visibility. Retailers can keep costs in check and deliver ultra-relevant messaging by availing themselves of increasingly-refined tools, such as Facebook’s location-based ad options. This helps reach shoppers with offers mapped to store locations.

Whatever your goals are for online to offline revenue, Kibo’s unified commerce software can enable you to achieve results where you are now experiencing pain points. Learn more here:

upgrade technology stack to saas solutions

Capitalize on Holiday Momentum to Thrive in an Uncertain 2019

Early reports indicate the holiday season has been a blockbuster. After a successful start to the season with strong gains during Cyber Week, new data from Mastercard shows consumer spending rose 5.1% during the season overall from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24, while eCommerce jumped a whopping 19.1%.

At the same time, the stock market’s recent wild ride, upcoming tariffs, and the ongoing government shutdown all spell uncertainty for merchants in 2019. Potential volatility later in the year provides ample motivation for merchants to redouble efforts in January to build on holiday gains. Among the strategies to consider:

Appeal to Gift Card Recipients

Some 60% of consumers predicted they’d request gift cards this season, according to the National Retail Federation, and in January merchants should help them find relevant items — and encourage continued engagement beyond redemption.  Themed categories on the eCommerce site, store displays organized by price tier, and social content spotlighting fun finds can all direct shoppers to items that match their gift-card balances. Putting email or loyalty club signups, social media channels, and in-store events front and center encourage those new to the brand to return throughout the year.

Optimize Inventory With Store-to-Store Networks

As returns come in and stores assess which new inventory remains unsold after the holiday rush, merchants should redistribute goods according to regional demand using store-to-store fulfillment. With more than half of returned merchandise going back on store shelves, according to Supply Chain Management Review, optimizing placement with company-wide inventory visibility and order management can help merchants avoid clearance discounting — and improve planning for the next peak season.

Reconnect With Existing Loyalists, and Listen

More than half of merchants reported an increase in the cost of wooing new customers this year, according to Forrester — so more than ever, retention makes business sense. After the holidays, merchants often set their sights on winning repeat business from first-time gift buyers, but they should also take the time to reconnect with existing loyal customers. Sellers can end the holiday season on a high note with exclusive promotions or thank-you offers, while surveying loyal customers about their holiday experiences and future preferences can help root out any gaps in service or product offerings. Addressing any unmet needs early in the year demonstrates merchants are willing to go the extra mile for their most valuable brand advocates.

in-store fulfillment

Gold Mine or Minefield? How Manufacturers Can Succeed With Online Marketplaces

With the holidays approaching, online marketplaces have a potential for unprecedented reach and revenue through eCommerce. Manufacturers building direct-to-consumer channels online may be tempted to try selling through third-party marketplaces to gain visibility with new audiences. But with existing retail partnerships hanging in the balance, careful navigation of marketplace options is a must.

Third-party marketplaces, where individual merchants sell goods through another brand’s platform, have never been more popular due to their breadth of selection and perceived competitive pricing. Marketplace sales account for half of all eCommerce transactions, according to research from Internet Retailer. Why wouldn’t brand manufacturers want a bigger piece of the eCommerce pie?

Marketplaces offer sellers the opportunity to connect with new buyers who haven’t yet found their way to brands’ standalone eCommerce sites. But the equation is tricky. In addition to losing a cut of sales to marketplace operators, brand manufacturers risk undermining existing retailer partnerships; indeed, protecting dealer networks was the top concern of brand manufacturers surveyed about marketplaces by the CMO Council. Respondents also expressed hesitation about customer data ownership and privacy and knock-off or counterfeit items circulating on marketplaces. 

To navigate these potential hazards and realize the benefits of marketplace exposure, brand manufacturers should:


Think eBay, not Amazon. may offer the largest third-party marketplace around, but it can be difficult to win the “buy” box without dedicating significant resources to product feed management and customer service. And Amazon is strict about owning the customer relationship, negating one reason manufacturers begin selling direct-to-consumer in the first place. Very small brands without standalone eCommerce sites or retail networks may find Amazon gives them a much-needed boost; other manufacturers are probably better off opting for eBay, which hosts listings for dozens of brands and empowers sellers to connect with customers directly.

Explore niche marketplaces. With 75 marketplaces generating 90% of marketplace revenue, according to Internet Retailer, brands have plenty of options beyond Amazon  and Walmart. The variety of marketplaces available not only enables manufacturers to connect with niche category audiences or new markets abroad; listings on smaller platforms can be less expensive and more effective due to a relative lack of competing sellers. And retail partners are less likely to object to marketplaces for focused segments they don’t serve.

Limit listings to unique items. To ensure marketplace items don’t compete with retail partner offerings, and to limit the potential for counterfeiting, brand manufacturers can create exclusive offerings such as gift sets or one-of-a-kind SKUs, or feature “long-tail” items with niche appeal to the marketplace audience.  Such curated selections can not only reduce channel conflict, but can help manufacturers avoid duplicate product page content from proliferating across the Web, which can negatively impact search engine optimization.

Learn how Kibo’s industry-leading commerce solution can help manufacturers sell direct while supporting retail partners, like Boscov’s. 

     When it came time to build out the technical infrastructure of the BOPIS program, the retailer partnered with omnichannel              commerce provider Kibo to create a scalable platform that integrated with its in-house e-Commerce solution and the                        handheld inventory devices used by in-store associates.

     …Having successfully rolled out its in-store pickup program, the Boscov’s team is now looking to expand its use of the Kibo              platform to manage ship-to-home order fulfillment as well.

Let us know: do you sell on third-party marketplaces? Why or why not? Partner with Kibo to make it easier.

commerce-on-site search personalization

Kibo eCommerce recognized as a “Strong Performer” among B2C platforms

We’re proud to share that Kibo was recently named a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave(™): B2C Commerce Suites, Q3 2018. Forrester’s review of the 11 most significant vendors in retail B2C eCommerce.

Commerce is changing, fast. And in an industry where a handful behemoths work to suck all the oxygen out of the room – you know who you are! – we at Kibo are proud that we can punch above our weight and provide robust tools and services that give our merchants the agility they need to compete and thrive.

As they create seamless online/offline connections, offer a growing array of fulfillment options, and deliver relevant product content to new devices, merchants must simultaneously meet current expectations and lay the groundwork for new developments. Forrester tested how vendors support retailers who are “fully focused on how to grow in a time of continual digital transformation.”

Based on performance across 31 criteria, Forrester recognized Kibo as a Strong Performer. We believe our standout benefits include:

Robust personalization

Kibo earned the highest possible score in the personalization criterion. Our tools enable merchants to tailor content, products, and  promotions in real time. Culling data from a robust customer profile to deliver relevant mobile and web experiences, as well as to inform store associates via a clienteling tool, Kibo’s toolset provides “excellent control of merchandising throughout the shopper journey.”

Kibo client Sun & Ski, a sports and recreational outfitter, draws on these techniques to create a dynamic selling environment. Not only can online shoppers see on the product page what others like them view and consider complementary cross-sells, but the entire site experience, from category pages to promotions, is tailored to their interests based on past site activity.

kibo commerce sun & ski merchandising

Commerce tools that puts sellers, not coders, in control

Forrester cited Kibo’s “easy-to-use business user interface,” which, combined with cloud-based architecture, reduces the need for specialized IT investment. Merchants can directly manage their offerings and give marketers and merchandisers access to the tools and data they need to gain customer insights and deliver effective experiences.

Big-league functionality priced for the mid-market.

Forrester described Kibo as delivering a “cost-effective cloud-based suite,” and clients like our  “responsive” client service and competitive pricing. This was great for us to hear; because it is so important to us that our eCommerce solution meets the needs and budgets of our merchants – whether they are long established online or just beginning to grow their online presence.

To read the full evaluation, The Forrester Wave(™): B2C Commerce Suites, Q3 2018. To learn more about how Kibo’s solution can drive growth for your business, read more about our robust omnichannel toolset and contact us to schedule a demo.