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Please enjoy this republication of a Retail Touchpoints article.
Consumer demand for a multichannel shopping experience continues to mount. The ability to leverage physical stores through BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) can be a crucial advantage in this regard. Business owners are rushing to adapt to evolving consumer expectations, and BOPIS is one of the primary channels that modern consumers expect, leaving retailers to carve out best practices.
Big box stores have been quick to get on the click-and-collect bandwagon, and midmarket retailers are following suit; 90% of retailers plan to implement BOPIS programs by 2021. Over 68% of customers have already made multiple BOPIS purchases. In-store order pickup is the new frontier for retail rivalry, and those that delay in refining their BOPIS operation risk getting left behind as the industry evolves and customer expectations grow.
There are three critical markers for successful BOPIS integration. These include: 1) mobile shopping satisfaction; 2) ease of ordering and collection; and 3) creating a consistent customer experience across all channels (mobile, desktop, and in-store). Let’s review how retailers are meeting these three benchmarks to implement successful BOPIS programs.
In the last decade, there has been a significant rise in mobile shopping, which is unsurprising considering retailers’ investment and focus on mobile commerce. In fact, in the first quarter of 2016, mobile sales outpaced desktop sales for the first time in history. As customers spend more time purchasing through their mobile devices, retailers will need to adapt their web sites and e-Commerce experience to match this demand.
BOPIS is an area of strength for mobile strategy. According to the 2019 secret shopper study BOPIS: State of the Industry, 86% of shoppers reported a positive mobile experience, which is 2% higher than on desktop devices. Nordstrom, Target, and Lowes scored the highest in the mobile performance category. The rise in positive mobile experiences this year can be seen as a significant step forward for BOPIS orders on mobile devices — it is also indicative that the new expectation for retailers will be to create a positive, user-friendly experience on any channel their customers prefer to use.
The ease with which a customer can order products through a BOPIS program may be a reliable indicator of whether or not they will go through with the purchase. Some key indicators of a faulty system: If search result metrics are indicating customers are not finding what they are looking for, if the checkout flow is overly complicated as indicated by higher than average funnel drop-off rates, or if the supply chain is ineffective and unable to meet deadlines, then there is a chance that retailers will lose business due to insurmountable friction points in the purchasing process.
All of the top retailers have proven able to address these potential issues, thereby increasing the potential of customer retention. An effective order management system is essential to a retailer’s ability to deliver products on time, whether the order is retrieved through in-store or curbside pick-up. An advanced order management system allows retailers access to real-time inventory information, ensuring they can keep commitments to their customers in reference to product availability. In addition, advanced order routing ensures that retailers can set realistic expectations in terms of customer expectations and provide the most streamlined path to order fulfillment.
An integrated approach is one of the core components of a successful BOPIS program. This refers to a retailer’s ability to provide a consistent quality of experience online during the mobile app and desktop ordering process, as well the ease and seamlessness of in-store pick-up. Generally, retailers offering click-and-collect were able to institute and maintain this level of excellence as indicated in the BOPIS: State of the Industry report. The retailers that scored the highest overall were Best Buy and Home Depot, respectively, which consistently provided fantastic BOPIS service throughout the entire ordering process and across all geographies.
Retailers can mirror these best-in-class examples to ensure a consistent customer experience by implementing a distributed order management system that streamlines the backend processes necessary to offer a practical, advantageous BOPIS operation. Leading retailers will further consider integration with complementary supply chain systems like a warehouse management system that helps establish a borderless enterprise.
When retailers focus on these three essential components of omnichannel retail as it relates to their BOPIS programs, they can be sure that customers have a consistent, positive brand experience. A strong BOPIS offering is a building block for lifelong customer relationships. In fact, according to the BOPIS: State of the Industryreport, all retailers that provided a consistent experience, mobile accessibility and effective ordering were the same retailers that customers repeatedly purchase from and refer to others. And in this era of consumer choice, it stands to reason that retailers who give their customers free rein over which channels to transact and offer a familiar, smooth process across those channels, are the ones that are able to increase customer retention over time. As we move into a future where almost 70% of consumers use BOPIS throughout their shopping journey, retailers need to ensure that the systems they are utilizing operate properly — in less time than it takes the competition.
Ultimately, retail is not static. What had been an emerging practice just a few years ago is today mainstream, with power players now competing on customer experience. Offering a BOPIS option keeps retailers market-relevant as part of their unified commerce strategy, but it also presents a distinct opportunity to leverage the flexibility and ease of online shopping while preserving the benefits of getting customers shopping in the store. While opening any new buying channel delivers a powerful advantage for retailers, minding these three critical benchmarks for BOPIS success will give your click-and-collect strategy a leg up.