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BOPIS Innovations: Alternative In-Store Pickup Options

This is an archived post from OrderDynamics, now Tecsys retail division.
BOPIS Innovations: Alternative In-Store Pickup Options BOPIS is short for buy online pickup in-store. Also known as click and collect, it is often referred to as the future of retail. For merchants, BOPIS joins online shopping to the physical world of brick and mortar stores. As BOPIS is still a new-ish thing for consumers, innovations here are important. Interestingly, the Omni-2000 research found a peculiarity in in-store pickup options. Retailers just have not been doing enough to differentiate their capabilities. Several innovations exist, but they are either still a rarity, or are not highlighted enough.  

Hidden Alternative In-Store Pickup Options

[caption id="attachment_12428" align="alignleft" width="334"] Source: Omni-2000: Global Research.[/caption] What we found is perplexing. First, retailers are only now starting to realize that in-store pickup options are the new 'free shipping'. We need to advertise 'free store pickup' - more. Second, shown in the pie chart on a global scale, most omnichannel merchants only offer one pickup option. Only 6% told customers about a second alternative. Three percent informed shoppers that they had 3 or more pickup possibilities. If we turn to the US, Canada, or Australia, we found no retail chains doing a good job on this point. In these regions, merchants only informed shoppers about one option. This being that collecting the order in-store is an alternative. What's exciting about it all is that being first is a differentiating opportunity. Retailers that offer omnichannel services, but also provide a few alternative in-store pickup options... are different. Literally - that's all it takes. Even if most of your customer use one primary option (standard in-store pickup), it is worth mentioning the others. Some of your customers will appreciate the alternatives. For these consumers, it will result in repeat business. It is related to an earlier discussion: Get Loud! Stop Keeping Your Click and Collect Program a Secret. [caption id="attachment_12429" align="aligncenter" width="615"] Source: Elaborated by OrderDynamics.[/caption]  

1. Pickup Lockers

[caption id="attachment_12085" align="alignleft" width="393"] Source: Canadian Tire.[/caption] Consumers like to shop online. No shock here. It is easy. Find what you want. Ring it up on your credit cards, and voila. Part of this journey is the time saved, aspect. Another part is the innovation effect. So, if you've got it, then show it and put some marketing muscle behind it. A very creative and cool in-store pickup option is the collection locker. Today, these systems are being rolled out to larger retailers, and malls. In either case, if it is an option, talk about it. The image is an example of a Bell & Howell smart pickup locker, deployed at Canadian Tire (large retail chain in Canada). [caption id="attachment_12461" align="aligncenter" width="599"] Source: Canadian Tire. Automated self-serve pick-up tower[/caption]  

2. 3PP - Third Party Pickup

As cities continue to grow, more and more people are living in high-density cores. Then, of course, there are countless numbers who work in city centres, business parks, and dense industrial zones. These are ideal places for extending your retail brand reach. This by collaborating with third-party pickup companies like PenguinPickup or Doddle Parcel. It is perfect for day pickup or night. The beauty is that many of your customers may live or work near your retail locations. For them, instead of a store pickup, they collect their goods (from your brand) at a 3PP. This gives them the convenience of doing a pickup that is convenient to them. It also means they feel secure their delivery won't be stolen or lost. It also gives consumers a sense of control - that they can collect their merchandise when they want to do so. Just show up to pick up your order with the QR code and perhaps some photo ID... and you are on your way. Convenient. Easy. Helpful. All the words you want to be associated with your brand! Egil Nielsen, SVP Head of PenguinPickup couldn't have said it better: “Customers that use PenguinPickUp love the convenience of using one location for all of their online shopping and services - like dry cleaning, buying a bottle of wine and getting their online groceries. Located where they live or on their way home, PenguinPickUp offers a fresh new experience and customers love how easy and convenient it is. For retailers, it extends their brand to areas where consumers live and work, saves on last mile costs and it’s good for the environment.  A nice loyalty driver, wouldn’t you say?” Read more about PenguinPickup in BOPIS Innovations: PenguinPickUp.  

4. Trunk & Curbside Pickup

[caption id="attachment_12433" align="alignleft" width="458"] Source: Walmart.[/caption] Curbside pickup is also not particularly new. We have seen it at Target, Walmart, and we are starting to see it spreading to more restaurants, too. Trunk and curbside pickup is the option of shopping online and then driving up to a designated location to pick up the purchased goods. It is either a short term designated parking spot, allowing an online consumer to pick up the items and then drive off. Or, for trunk pickup, the consumer drives up to a designated location, and a retail employee will bring and place the goods in the trunk (boot) of their car. The oddity about curbside and trunk pickup is that we know it is there, and available. Yet as an example, in the US we did not find a retail chain (excluding grocery retailers) that advertised their service well. If it was noted on the website, it was buried. Perhaps somewhere near the terms and conditions pages. In either case, it eluded us. This in itself is telling. Retailers truly need to advertise pickup alternatives more prominently. Tell your customers that you have in-store pickup options. Spell it out. Your customers get to order online and pick up through these various methods. Consumers might figure it out. They might come to your store and realize there is a special area in the parking lot for curbside. Or, they might just jump to a competitor's site, and never think twice. Do you want to risk this scenario? [caption id="attachment_12462" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Source: CVS pharmacy.[/caption]  

5. Mobile Pickup

Does this have anything to do with a mobile phone? Actually - no. Mobile pickup is a way to bring a pickup-delivery combined service to your shoppers. But, it makes delivery and pickups a little more convenient. Purolator Mobile Quick Stop - is an example. Purolator recently piloted and launched this service. It lets retailers offer mobile pickup points, to their customers. Purolator Mobile Quick Stop trucks drive out to specific high people-traffic locations. There they set up a delivery vehicle. Perhaps at a busy train station, or business park. Then customers know that they can go to the designated location at certain times of the day. There they provide proof of their pickup notification (an email, for example) and collect their goods. [caption id="attachment_9702" align="aligncenter" width="599"] Source: Purolator.[/caption] Truly, this isn't a traditional in-store pickup option. Actually, it isn't in-store at all. The shopper does not have to go to the store to pick up their order. But it is an important extension of your brand and local store. Retailers can easily leverage this in their 'choose store pickup' options. As an extender of your own store locations, it makes sense to make customer convenience a priority. Giving customers more collection options - whether in-store or not - is a good thing. It associates your retailer brand with ease and creativity. Better yet, Purolator's service has been receiving extra-ordinary customer satisfaction scores. Again, another way to leverage the success (what customers want) with your retail brand. Best of all, it is an easy win! Laurie Weston, Director of Retail at Purolator surmises, "It's a great option that extends a retailer's reach. Better yet it truly gives customers a quick, and easy alternative that they want." Read more in Pickup Innovations: Purolator Mobile Quick Stop.  

6. Ship-to-Store as a Catch

A customer looks up one of your stores. They note that it is out of stock on an item. They now ponder whether to jump to a competitor or just opt for a delivered order. Well, don't forget to mention to them that you have a 'ship-to-store concierge' function. It is a great way to emphasize that your brand is here to help. It also encourages shoppers to come into your store as yet another in-store pickup option. [caption id="attachment_12441" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Source: Home Depot Canada.[/caption]  

Marketing Your In-Store Pickup Options

Strangely, my conclusion here is that retail marketers need to get smarter with their marketing. We already have several in-store pickup options that retailers are using. But, we don't always do a good job of telling customers about it. If a shopper doesn't find it easy to do online, then they just won't do it. Equally, if they don't see or find it easily - then they are just NOT going to search for it. Do you mention 'FREE In-store Pickup Options' on your front page? Is it at the top right next to the 'Free Shipping' line? If not, then please go put it in...now...I will wait. You may want to grab attention with a line like 'Pickup Today'. Then once the consumer clicks, it spells out the various options you can offer them. This is an easy fix. Some of the creative options above aren't necessarily 'In-Store' options. By giving customers more alternatives, your brand stands out from the crowd. Most retailers simply aren't doing this effectively online. Offering more options is a form of enhancing customer service. You are making it easier for your shopper to choose your brand. Don't miss this opportunity.   Author:  Charles Dimov is VP of Marketing at OrderDynamics. Charles has 23 years experience in Marketing, Sales and Management across various IT and Technology businesses. Previous roles include Chief of Staff, Director Product Marketing, and Director Sales. Charles has held roles in brand name firms like IBM, Ericsson, HP, ADP, and OrderDynamics.
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