Buy online pickup in-store (aka BOPIS) services have been growing steadily in popularity, and give retailers an edge when it comes to fast, free order fulfillment. In the fiercely competitive holiday environment, new Kibo research gives merchants new ways to promote the BOPIS service to maximize its usage and thereby cement their brands’ reputations for stellar service.
According to the new research presented in Kibo’s Holiday Consumer Trends Report, consumers say they’ll rely on BOPIS more than ever. Close to 60% of shoppers said they’ll select the service, an increase of more than 25% over last year. Year-round, Kibo research indicates that fully 78% of consumers have used BOPIS services in the past six months, demonstrating that store pickup services are now considered mainstream.
Evidence suggests buy online pickup in-store has a positive impact on the bottom line. For starts, more than 70% of shoppers say they made further impulse purchases when they visited stores to pick up items ordered online, according to research cited by eMarketer.
BOPIS has the added benefit of differentiating small to mid-sized retailers compared with online-only behemoths such as eBay or Amazon, which can’t compete with the niche expertise and personal service specialty retailers can offer in stores. Amazon’s launch of its own brick-and-mortar locations and acquisition of Whole Foods supermarkets are testament to the importance of physical store outlets.
During the all-important holiday season, then, it makes sense for merchants to make the most of the BOPIS services they offer. That means positioning BOPIS to address consumers’ expectations for holiday offerings and promoting it throughout the path to purchase, not just in the cart and checkout. Among the promotion options:
BOPIS is the default free option. Consumers’ desire for free shipping is as strong as ever, with 70% saying they expect free standard delivery during the holidays, according to the new Kibo data. And they recognize cost savings as the primary benefit of BOPIS, with 66% saying that’s why they’re likely to use it. Not only can buy online pickup in-store help meet these expectations, but it can help merchants stay competitive even if they can’t afford to offer frequent free home delivery promotions (or across-the-board free shipping) during the holidays.
Spotlight BOPIS for cart abandoners. The cart abandonment rate hovers around 60% and is likely to spike higher during the holiday season, when consumers are researching and comparing total order costs at a furious clip. To lure them back, 71% of shoppers say merchants should provide a discount, and 69% say they hope offers triggered by cart abandonment will specifically contain free shipping. Spotlighting BOPIS in abandonment emails gives merchants the means to save the sale with free fulfillment — without breaking the bank.
BOPIS helps combat last-minute crowds. When asked why they prefer to shop online, 58% of consumers in Kibo’s holiday study cited the lack of crowds and lines, and 68% said it’s more convenient than visiting stores. And more than half said they’ll use buy online pickup in-store services to help them save time in stores. To highlight this benefit when it matters most, merchants can use BOPIS to reassure last-minute shoppers who missed shipping cutoffs by highlighting the speed and efficiency of store pickup services. Whether merchants follow Walmart’s lead and position pickup stations at the front of the store or not, they can make the process smooth by clearly communicating logistics in post-purchase emails and ramping up store signage to help holiday shoppers in their last-minute dash.
Concierge BOPIS service is a loyalty club perk. Extra loyalty club rewards were second only to discounts as the top way to improve the holiday shopping experience, according to Kibo holiday study participants. Furthermore, club members are looking for perks when it comes to shipping, with 49% saying they’d expect club membership to give them access to free home delivery. Merchants can enhance BOPIS services to help satisfy these expectations: they can accord loyalty members priority BOPIS service by giving them an express lane at service counters and offering to wrap gifts for free prior to pickup. Merchants could even connect buy online pickup in-store with personal shopping services and exclusive member events, enabling loyalty club members to have gifts picked and packed while they enjoy other store attractions.
Download Kibo’s Holiday Consumer Trends Report for further guidance on consumers’ omnichannel expectations for the holidays, from eCommerce site functionality to shipping speed to returns.