Has your clothing company recently launched a Buy Online, Pickup in Store policy? Has this idea proven itself to be an inspiration or an impediment?
Buy Online, Pickup In-Store: The BOPIS Strategy
It is such a simple idea: sync inventories to networks and search engines, provide consumers with virtual shopping carts and then let them reap the rewards of online shopping and in-store pickups.
Convenience serves as the cornerstone of this next-generation marketing.
The Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) strategy promises to be the salvation of retailers – and with good reason. It delivers undeniable value to customers, and this translates to stronger sales and improved relationships.
Despite the appeal of next-day delivery, the physical store still bests the online model by delivering what consumers value above all else — instant ownership – Lee Peterson, executive vice president of Brand, Strategy & Design at WD Partners.
Nothing is perfect, however, and BOPIS is no exception. Challenges counter every advantage, forcing companies to examine thoroughly whether this tactic should be implemented or ignored. Let’s find out!
The Importance of the Pickup Policy
It’s a digital age. Consumers devote themselves to keyboard presses and tablet screens, smartphone searches and console connections. They access the Internet again and again, and shopping has shifted from exclusively brick & mortar to a combination of in-store and virtual.
Retailers must, therefore, consider creating a BOPIS strategy to keep pace. Consider these statistics, as provided by Blackhawk Engagement Solutions:
- 64% of consumers admit to participating in BOPIS programs.
- 54% of consumers say they do this multiple times each year.
- 7% of consumers purchase BOPIS products each month.
- 3% of consumers utilize BOPIS programs each week.
- 82% of consumers would participate in BOPIS for a $10 rebate on a $50 purchase.
- 61% of consumers would wait up to two weeks to receive their BOPIS purchase for an improved rebate.
- 24% of consumers would consider BOPIS if it resulted in store gift cards.
- 6% of consumers could consider BOPIS if it resulted in loyalty rewards.
These statistics promise improved sales and steady in-store traffic for all retailers, allowing them to compete better against similar, local services.
The Concerns of the Pickup Policy
Launching a BOPIS strategy seems ideal. Consumers respond positively to it, and it could potentially generate additional successful conversions. Retailers should be wary, however, of entering the field of in-store pickups. It does pose a series of complications that could siphon away profits:
According to Forrester Research Inc., 53% of consumers expect their purchases to be ready for pickup in no more than two hours. This causes an immediate strain on retailers, forcing them to quickly hunt down stock. Especially those companies with limited employee pools will suffer.
In-store pickups are more effient when they have dedicated separate spaces so that pick-up customers are not increasing wait times at the main registers. This can prove difficult to achieve in already limited square footage.
Constant online purchases wreak havoc on inventories, quickly depleting popular items and causing retailers to have to restock more frequently. This can affect non-virtual customers, limiting their abilities to buy items in-store.
To maintain real-time inventory updates (including product listings, sale notifications, and quantity amounts) software must be used. These programs – which utilize order management algorithms – are essential and expensive.
Companies may have to invest between $700.00 and $5,000.00 a month on a software system, according to Internet Retailer.
BOPIS strategies offer many rewards. To achieve those rewards, however, certain compromises have to made:
Limit Pickup Promises
Avoid two-hour policies. Offer next-day pickups instead.
Divide Store Items
While offering popular items online is recommended, don’t forget to maintain an in-store inventory as well. Keep products on the shelves.
Include In-Store Incentives
Offer BOPIS customers rewards (such as gift cards, rebates, or price reductions) that can only be redeemed with in-store purchases. This will ensure customers return and increase overall sales, which could negate software costs.
BOPIS can deliver spectacular results – but only if retailers implement it properly. To learn more about how Alert Tech can help you achieve a winning in-store pickup experience contact us today.