Retailers today are adopting a modern model to meet customer expectations. Buy Online, Pick Up in Store (BOPIS) is the perfect way for retailers to drive in-store foot traffic and connect their offline and online experiences.
BOPIS allows retailers to blend the online and in-store experience to engage with customers while offering a more convenient way to shop. The option — sometimes called click-and-collect — notably picked up steam during the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly half of the top 500 retailers offering the model.
However, even after the pandemic concluded, BOPIS has shown no signs of slowing down. BOPIS retail sales are projected to jump from $73.16 in 2020 during the pandemic to more than $150 million by 2025.
Instead of being a one-time occurrence, BOPIS is proving to be a staple of the industry and one that can be used throughout the year, even for holiday gifts and Black Friday.
As retailers increasingly implement BOPIS into their omnichannel retail strategy, it’s important to understand what BOPIS is and why customers are now expecting it.
Shoppers want choice, accessibility and flexibility in how they want their orders fulfilled, and they want to be able to complete their purchases or make returns quickly and efficiently. BOPIS is key to delivering convenience by enabling customers to conveniently select which items they want to purchase and which are worth waiting for.
Here’s how the process works:
Retailers need to create convenience by enabling customers to complete purchases online or in-app, simultaneously selecting the time and free store pickup location to pick up the purchased products.
With real-time local inventory visibility, the consumer can choose when and where to pick up their products.
There are two scenarios when ordering through BOPIS.
If the item is in stock at the customer’s chosen local store, a store associate can use an app to quickly locate, pick and pack the order to hold for the customer. When ready, they can send a notification email to the customer letting them know it’s ready for pickup — saving time searching the aisles while removing barriers to order fulfillment.
On the other hand, if the store does not have the item in stock, the associate must order from a nearby store or warehouse facility. Once it arrives, the customer is notified and it will be available for pickup at their convenience.
Customers can go inside the store to a designated online pickup area where a store associate will hand over the items. As mentioned above, stores are taking it one step further by facilitating curbside pickup — where customers can receive their orders without leaving their cars and with little more than their photo ID or driver’s license.
Either way, consumers should be easily guided through the steps for picking up their purchased products, whether through a text message, push notification or order confirmation email with a receipt or QR code.
There are many companies who have successfully implemented BOPIS, including:
Nordstrom has found success with their Nordstrom Local model, launched in 2017 and specifically tailored to BOPIS orders. In Q1 of 2022, 39% of total Nordstrom sales were digital, a success that their CEO attributed towards BOPIS.
According to Erik Nordstrom, BOPIS comprised 10% of Nordstrom.com demand — a 2% increase from the year prior.
Lululemon is another clothing-based retailer that has found success with BOPIS, leveraging its capability through its website and mobile app. After selecting your store and product, all you have to do is make the purchase online, and in two hours, the product will be ready for pickup.
Target has embraced BOPIS and curbside pickup through initiatives like its Drive Up program, created in 2018. The retailer has found extensive success with its focus on BOPIS, with fulfillment revenue increasing 400% since 2019.
Online businesses are also realizing the benefits of BOPIS and taking advantage of implementing this method to succeed in the last mile. Some of the benefits of BOPIS include:
Shipping orders from a retailer’s distribution center to a customer’s front door can be expensive for the retailer, with labor and packaging costs quickly adding up.
Retailers can save on last-mile shipping if customers pick up items from the store while still offering a fast, free shipping option.
Two of the primary reasons for cart abandonment among online shoppers are expensive shopping costs and long delivery times.
With BOPIS as an alternative option, companies can help customers bypass frustrating aspects of online shopping and ensure that their customer journey ends with checkout.
If customers need an item immediately, it’s much faster to order an in-stock item online and have it ready for pickup in an hour than it is to wait two days or longer for an Amazon delivery — as long as the pickup occurs on business days and within store hours.
Getting products in the hands of the customer fast is essential, and BOPIS can offer exactly that.
BOPIS serves as a kind of insurance that the item customers want is 100% at the store of their choice when it’s ready for pickup.
The last thing a consumer wants is to purchase an item through the app selecting a BOPIS fulfillment option, only to arrive at the store and find out the product is unavailable or has been substituted for something else.
As online shopping has grown in popularity, many brick-and-mortar stores have struggled to increase or maintain their store traffic. Online shopping is more convenient and often a faster journey.
However, with BOPIS, retailers can bridge the gap between the online and physical stores to drive shoppers back through the door. As a natural byproduct, nearly half of shoppers make additional purchases while picking their items up in-store — helping store locations promote store-based best sellers and new arrivals.
Once you know what BOPIS is and how the process works, it’s essential to determine if your store has everything necessary to offer BOPIS to customers. The good news is it’s quite simple — you need just a few things:
Of course, BOPIS doesn’t work for stores that only have an online presence.
Retailers must have at least one brick-and-mortar location to fulfill online order pickups and act as a hub for customers to pick up their items. The store should be located strategically to provide customers with a convenient place to go while providing an opportunity for increased foot traffic.
The more your BOPIS programs find success, the more orders you will have to manage and the amount of inventory space you will need will increase. If this happens too fast and you’re not prepared, you can very quickly end up in a situation where orders have piled up and you aren’t able to satisfy your customers.
Before using BOPIS, ensure that you have a dedicated staff and systems to handle the extensive processes that will occur.
Retailers need to analyze and implement the right technology components to deliver the most up-to-date inventory available to the consumer.
This involves connecting the elements of the retailer’s fulfillment system to create real-time analytics on order statuses, order numbers, product pages, overall cycle time, location handling and customer engagement.
If you have multiple locations, your solution must connect your POS inventory across all areas to provide visibility to customers and ensure same-day pickup options.
As with most things in business, BOPIS requires a substantial investment of time and money on the part of retailers. You will need to have a system in place that can handle a potentially large amount of store orders and a staff to manage it.
Additionally, as online purchases grow more complex, businesses will need payment processes in place that can work with BOPIS, no matter if the customer is using credit cards or gift cards.
Ultimately, Businesses will need to ensure that the BOPIS model works for their company and that the initial costs will ultimately be worth it.
While the COVID-19 pandemic may have been the impetus for the massive growth that BOPIS has seen in the last year, that doesn’t mean it’s a flash-in-the-pan trend.
With nearly 70% of shoppers aware of BOPIS, the model will likely only grow in popularity.
Shoppers continuously crave convenience, which is why retailers are adopting the BOPIS model to compete against Amazon and effectively utilize their physical stores as hubs for fulfillment — ultimately placing the product in the hands of the consumer at a much faster rate.
Curbside pickup, sometimes referred to as BOPAC or Buy Online, Pick Up at Curb, is a subset of BOPIS.
Curbside pickup has long been an option but gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic because people wanted to avoid being inside stores as much as possible and appreciated contact-free or low-contact pickup options. The convenience and efficiency of curbside pickup make this a trend that is likely to continue.
Yes. BOPIS and click and collect refer to the same fulfillment method and are often used interchangeably.
ROPIS stands for Reserve Online, Pick Up In Store. This process enables customers to reserve an item online — in lieu of purchasing it — and decide in-store if they want to complete the purchase.
ROPIS is an excellent option for larger items that may need physical inspection, such as appliances.
BORIS stands for Buy Online, Return In Store and is a return policy used by many online retailers.
Instead of having to return items purchased online — which entails repackaging and dealing with carriers — retailers with BORIS offer customers the ability to return the product to a physical location.