Ecommerce Marketing

BOPIS: How Buy Online, Pick-Up in Store is Catering to Consumer’s Needs and Boosting Retailer’s Bottom Line

Casey Gannon / 8 min read

BOPIS: How Buy Online, Pick-Up in Store is Catering to Consumer’s Needs and Boosting Retailer’s Bottom Line

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Retailers today are adopting the BOPIS model to meet customer expectations. And no, we’re not talking about the delicious Filipino delicacy. We’re talking about buy online, pick up in-store – the perfect way for retailers to drive in-store foot traffic and connect their offline and online experiences.

In a recent Fisher study, 90% of online shoppers surveyed stated high shipping fees and home delivery that takes longer than two days will likely prevent them from completing a purchase online. Thanks to the likes of Amazon, today’s consumers are accustomed to receiving their products at a much faster rate, demanding more options that fill the void between online, offline, and everything in between.

Retailers are understanding the importance of enabling BOPIS to eliminate the pains of shipping and processing while delivering a convenient shopping experience. In fact, Shopgate’s omnichannel survey demonstrates that 61% of surveyed retailers say BOPIS and BORIS are at the top of their omnichannel plans and investments.

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. In this blog, we’ll answer the following questions:

  1. What is BOPIS?
  2. How does BOPIS work?
  3. What are the requirements to allow you to offer BOPIS?
  4. What opportunities can retailers take advantage of with BOPIS?
  5. Why are customers opting for BOPIS?
  6. Why are retailers embracing BOPIS?
  7. Who are some of the retailers and ecommerce brands successfully utilizing BOPIS?

What is BOPIS?

BOPIS stands for Buy Online, Pick Up in Store. The practice of offering BOPIS has grown as shoppers become too busy to browse items in-store and are more comfortable buying online. BOPIS allows retailers to blend the online and in-store experience to engage with customers while offering a more convenient way to shop.

How Does BOPIS Work?

Shoppers want choice 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 immediately, and which items are worth waiting for. Here’s how the process works:

1. Customers buy online, through the website or mobile app.

When it comes to BOPIS, it’s important for retailers to create convenience by enabling customers to complete purchases online or in-app, simultaneously selecting the time and store location to pick-up the purchased products. With real-time local inventory visibility at hand, the consumer can choose when and where to pick up their products.

2. The store fulfills the online order.

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 easily locate, pick and pack the order to hold for the customer. When ready, the associate can send an email or notification to the customer letting them know it’s ready for pickup. This saves shoppers precious time searching the aisles while removing the barriers of order fulfillment for store associates.

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 pick-up at his or her convenience.

3. The customer picks up the order.

Customers can go inside the store to a designated online pickup area where a store associate will hand over the items. Some stores are taking it one step further by facilitating curb-side pickup – where a customer can drive up to the store location and receive their order without ever leaving the car.

Either way, consumers should be easily guided through the steps for picking up their purchased products, including receiving a text message, push notification or email with a receipt or QR code for the order as well as quick and easy instructions about where their product will be waiting in the store.

Requirements For Offering BOPIS

So now that you know what BOPIS is and how the process works, it’s important to figure out if your store has everything necessary to offer BOPIS to customers. The good news is it’s quite simple – you just need a few things:

1. A website or app for ordering.

Retailers must have a branded website or app for customers to order items from, connecting the online and offline experience. This platform should provide accurate and real-time visibility into available inventory creating a reliable and enhanced level of convenience.

With smartphones now playing the role of supporting actor in all aspects of consumers’ lives, it’s no surprise that consumers expect their phones to assist in the shopping experience, especially when it comes to BOPIS. Retailers can use the app to proactively communicate with customers by using push notifications throughout all of the steps of the shopping journey – letting them know when the order has been received, notifying them the order is being prepared, and confirming the order is ready for pickup – all on their mobile device.

2. At least one brick and mortar location.

Of course, BOPIS doesn’t work for stores who only have an online presence. Retailers must have at least one brick-and-mortar location to fulfill online orders and act as a hub for customers to pick up their items. The store should be located strategically to provide customers a convenient place to go, while providing an opportunity for increased foot traffic.

3. Real-time inventory capabilities.

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 all components of the retailer’s fulfillment system to create real-time analytics on order statuses, workflows, overall cycle time, locations handling and customer engagement.

BOPIS Performance In The Retail Market

BOPIS has been a popular and successful offering among both retailers and shoppers, and we have the numbers to prove it. Check out these numbers highlighting how customers are using BOPIS and what retailers can do to take advantage of this shifting behavior.

1. Over 40% of shoppers use BOPIS during holidays.

We all know it’s both the most wonderful and busiest time of the year. That’s why it’s no surprise that shoppers are taking advantage of BOPIS to get their holiday shopping done as quickly and efficiently as possible. If a customer can browse for gifts from the comfort of their home and skip the crowded lines, you better believe they’ll be using BOPIS to get in and out of the store.

2. 68% of surveyed US shoppers made multiple BOPIS purchases.

With so many repeat BOPIS customers, it’s a sure sign that once shoppers try and experience the convenience of selecting BOPIS as their fulfillment option, they’ll keep coming back again. In fact, 50% of respondents said they have decided where to shop online based on whether or not they could pick up in-store.

3. 48% of surveyed shoppers used BOPIS to counter shipping fees.

Have you ever started a purchase online only to see that the shipping isn’t free? This almost always steers people away from checking out. In fact, 65% of consumers also say they look up the free-shipping thresholds before adding items to their online carts. That’s why BOPIS is a great way for both customers and retailers to save time and money.

4. 83% of those who have used BOPIS pick up at the cash register.

Although BOPIS customers opt to pick up their items in-store, the options of where in the store they can pick up their items are growing and according to NRF, 63% of respondents say they would like to be able to use curbside pickup and 56% want merchandise delivered to the trunk of their cars.

Why Customers are Choosing BOPIS

Customers are looking for a shopping experience that is convenient, but also saves them time and money.

1. No shipping fees.

Unless a retailer offers free shipping, it can be significantly more expensive for customers to have items shipped to their door. As an alternative, customers can save both money and time by picking up their order in store rather than paying $3+ to ship a single item. At the same time, they can still enjoy the benefits of easy online ordering.

2. Quicker service.

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. Getting items in the hands of the customer fast is essential, and BOPIS can offer exactly that.

3. In-stock Insurance.

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 not available or has been substituted for something else.

How BOPIS Benefits Retailers

Retailers are also realizing the benefits of BOPIS and taking advantage of implementing this method to succeed in the last mile. Brick-and-mortar stores have a competitive edge over Amazon and other online retailers without a storefront, and BOPIS is the perfect way to bolster their omnichannel strategy.

1. Extra purchases from customers.

When customers go in-store to pick up their order, they may be tempted to look around and browse for more products. Or they may have forgotten to add something else they need to their cart. Whatever the case, it’s the perfect opportunity for increased upsells.

2. Lower shipping costs.

Shipping orders from a retailer’s distribution center to a customers’ 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.

3. Better inventory management.

With BOPIS, businesses no longer need a separate online and in-store inventory system. Orders can be fulfilled both from the distribution center or store shelves, wherever is faster, giving retailers access to a larger inventory. By combining and optimizing the two systems, retailers can have better insight into what’s available in real-time.

Examples of Major Retailers Offering BOPIS

Recently, we’ve seen many major retailers offer BOPIS and realize the benefits of this fulfillment option. Let’s take a look at three retailers who have implemented the technology.

Walmart.

Walmart offers curb-side and in-store pickup for customers on the go. Customers can shop Walmart’s huge selection of groceries online and have them ready when it’s convenient for the shopper. Walmart’s grocery pickup combines the convenience of online shopping with the ease of never leaving the car, all at no additional cost.

Target.

Like Walmart, Target is also offering BOPIS capabilities to make shopping easy and convenient for customers. Order Pickup allows customers to order items from Target.com or the app and pick them up at their local store. Additionally, Target’s Drive Up allows customers to choose from thousands of items in the Target app and will notify users when the order is ready for pick up. Customers park in the designated spot and associates will come load up the car.

Petco.

Petco has been offering in-store pickups for awhile now. This service allows customers to order a bag of dog food or replace a broken leash in the same day, so pet owners don’t have to wait for delivery to take care of their beloved animals.

Examples of Ecommerce Brands Offering BOPIS

You don’t have to be a major retailer with thousands of stores to offer BOPIS. In fact, Shopgate and BigCommerce have partnered to create remarkable experiences for smaller retailers looking to drive more online customers into the store.

New York-Based Shoe Company.

A New York-based shoe company is using Shopgate’s platform to enable customers to buy in-app, then select the time and place where they want to pick up their products. With four brick-and-mortar locations, this retailer has the goal of increasing foot traffic in store to drive additional purchases and optimizing the omnichannel experience with convenience and ease.

Austin-Based Apparel Company.

Another one of our customers is an Austin-based apparel company with seven locations throughout the state. What’s unique about what this retailer is doing is that they are going beyond BOPIS by utilizing Shopgate’s platform for ROPIS, also known as “reserve online and pickup in-store.”

The main difference is that instead of having customers pay for the item before picking it up in store, shoppers can first reserve the item online to view or try it in person before deciding to purchase. The items are put on hold, ready for when the customer goes into the store to take a look without having to search the aisles for what they’re looking for. Not only does this remove potential friction by avoiding a long checkout process, but it also avoids unnecessary returns.

Executive Summary

As retailers look to implement a BOPIS/ROPIS strategy to uplevel their last mile capabilities and customer experience offerings, they must ensure the following requirements are in place in order to create a BOPIS/ROPIS offering:

  1. A website or app for ordering.
  2. At least one brick and mortar location.
  3. Real-time inventory capabilities.

Shoppers continuously crave convenience, which is why retailers are adopting the buy online, pick up in-store model (BOPIS) 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.

Shopgate’s BOPIS solution was designed to easily plug-in to your BigCommerce store to give your buyers even more options when engaging with your brand.

To learn more about BOPIS, ROPIS and other ways to drive consumers in-store download the full white paper here.

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    Casey Gannon

    Casey Gannon

    Casey is an experienced tech marketer, driven to develop marketing strategies that blend traditional techniques with emerging technology. With over ten years of experience in mobile, she believes that mobile apps are the modern solution in helping retailers directly connect with and impact consumers. When she's not looking ahead to the next opportunity, Casey is a busy mom, soccer player and adjunct professor at her alma mater, St. Edward's University.

    View all posts by Casey Gannon

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