What is BOPIS? A Breakdown of Buy Online, Pick Up In Store Services

What is BOPIS? A Breakdown of Buy Online, Pick Up In Store Services

woman picking up an order in store

In the ever-evolving landscape of retail, businesses should constantly seek innovative ways to adapt to changing customer needs to secure sustainable success. That’s where the phenomenon gaining prominence in retail comes in. BOPIS, a revolutionary approach to retail, bridges the gap between online and offline shopping, offering the seamless experience customers demand and challenging the traditional shopping norms. In an exploration of what exactly BOPIS is, we’ll delve into its history as well as the current and future impact it’s making on traditional retail.

Defining BOPIS Retail and Why It Matters

BOPIS, an acronym for Buy Online, Pick Up In Store, has become a cornerstone in modern retail strategies. Customers have the flexibility to make purchases from the comfort of their homes while also having the option to pick up their orders at a physical store. This symbiotic relationship between online and offline channels creates a harmonious shopping experience that caters to the diverse preferences of everyday consumers. Understanding its origins and significance in today’s retail space is vital for businesses looking to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive market.

The roots of BOPIS retail can be traced back to the early days of eCommerce. As online shopping gained momentum, retailers recognized the need to bridge the gap between online and brick-and-mortar stores. The evolutions of technology played a crucial role in the development of BOPIS, providing retailers with the tools they needed to offer a more integrated, efficient, and dynamic shopping experience.

Customers’ Needs Are Changing – So Should You

In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and shifting consumer behaviors, businesses must adapt to stay relevant. BOPIS in retail has emerged as a strategic response to the changing needs of customers, offering a solution that combines the convenience of online shopping with the immediacy of in-store pick-up.

By providing a flexible and convenient shopping experience, BOPIS addresses the demand for speed, efficiency, and customization. Customers have come to appreciate the option to browse and purchase online, knowing they can retrieve their items at their earliest convenience, eliminating the wait associated with traditional delivery methods.

This is just one of the many benefits of adopting a BOPIS strategy. While customer satisfaction is vital to success, so is reduced shipping costs, improved inventory management, and increased foot traffic in physical stores. All are key to the success of brick-and-mortar retail space.

So, How Does BOPIS Work?

To fully comprehend the mechanics of BOPIS, it is necessary to break down the step-by-step process. On the surface it’s simple. Customers begin by browsing through select products online, followed by the option to choose the nearest store for pick-up. After completing the transaction, the retailer prepares the order, and the customer receives a notification once it’s ready for pick-up. Some retailers have gone as far as designating parking and pick-up locations so that customers don’t even have to leave the comfort of their vehicles. This seamless process ensures hassle-free customer experiences while optimizing retailers’ operational efficiency.

What Buy Online, Pick Up In Store Means For eCommerce

As BOPIS gains momentum, its benefits and lasting impact on the eCommerce industry become increasingly hard to ignore. From Walmart to Target, Whole Foods, and Best Buy the world’s leading brands are using a BOPIS model to create a better customer experience and grow their businesses exponentially. What retailers don’t want enhanced customer engagement, improved inventory turnover, or a reduced reliance on a third-party delivery service? The model is a sure-fire way for retailers to leverage their physical presence without sacrificing the needs of their customers. It’s a sustainable way to ensure you stay one step ahead of the competition.

But with the many benefits of the BOPIS model, come challenges that retailers should be aware of and if they want to succeed at it – effectively address. Two of the top challenges are:

  1. Inventory: Maintaining accurate and up-to-date inventory across online and physical stores is crucial to prevent order hiccups.
  2. Pick-Up Process: Ensuring a seamless and efficient pick-up process requires strategic planning and resource allocation.

To fully take advantage of the potential BOPIS brings, retailers must learn to navigate these challenges.

BOPIS Success Story: Bi-Mart

Over nine months, Bi-Mart rolled out its BOPIS initiative, allowing customers to shop online and pick up orders from either Bi-Mart or Cascade Farm and Outdoor stores across the Northwest. Partnering with Kibo and eCommerce agency Ignitiv, the implementation yielded positive results, such as increased website traffic and memberships. However, significant hurdles were encountered, notably the need to revamp the website to enable online transactions.

The company had to integrate an e-commerce platform and meticulously update its merchandise system to provide customers with essential details for completing purchases, including product information and images, as well as ensuring seamless categorization for online shoppers. Leveraging Kibo, Bi-Mart successfully transformed its website into a fully functional online store, offering customers comprehensive visibility into product availability tailored to their chosen store and pickup schedule.

In addition to technical challenges, Bi-Mart faced organizational hurdles in aligning processes, personnel, and roles to effectively support and manage various marketing and customer service aspects associated with the BOPIS program. Training store associates and promoting customer engagement became imperative, necessitating the development of a robust promotional strategy to inform existing customers about the new online shopping option while incorporating BOPIS messaging into marketing campaigns to attract new clientele. This multifaceted approach was crucial in ensuring the successful integration of the BOPIS initiative into Bi-Mart’s operations, ultimately enhancing customer convenience and driving business growth.

Learn more about Bi-Mart’s BOPIS rollout with Kibo.

The Future Of BOPIS

Advancements in technology are inevitable, opening up exciting possibilities for BOPIS in the retail industry and beyond. Innovations such as augmented reality, AI, and smarter logistics systems are poised to further enhance the BOPIS experience. Augmented reality may offer customers virtual in-store experiences while artificial intelligence may play a role in streamlining inventory management and predicting customer preferences. And with smart logistics systems, order fulfillment will continue to optimize operational efficiencies. The opportunities are endless.

With all of the potential advancements in the BOPIS retail process, there is one more thing that will make or break success for retailers – their software. When assessing your order management and eCommerce software for BOPIS, it needs to remove barriers that blind you to the scope of your inventory or slow down the ordering process –  stifling customer satisfaction.

Kibo offers a well-rounded solution that aids retailers in taking advantage of all the BOPIS model offers. Our composable  commerce technology gives you the tools required for:

  • a single view of your entire inventory, order management, and eCommerce operations.
  • dedicated BOPIS and curbside capabilities with out-of-the-box integrations for quick go-to-market.
  • omnichannel fulfillment that gives you the speed, flexibility, and convenience you need to operate at your best.

BOPIS stands as a testament to the adaptability of the retail industry in the face of evolving customer needs. As businesses grapple with the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age, BOPIS emerges as a bridge between the convenience of online shopping and the desire for immediate, in-store gratification. For retailers, implementing this strategy is essential to staying at the forefront of industry demand. Optimizing operations and fostering better customer loyalty exemplifies the adaptability retailers are capable of in the evolving retail landscape.