It’s been encouraging to see lots of major names in the retail world speak so positively about the impact of Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) lately, as the benefits of this core omnichannel service continue to be realised.
But as the likes of Walmart and Macy’s in the US, and Ikea in Europe, trial new formats and undertake fresh strategies with BOPIS at their heart, it is clear there are still so many ways to optimise this click & collect facility.
Here are a few pointers the retail world should be considering as they drive these plans forward:
- Invest in the right technology
Improving the link between stores and online, to ensure a seamless experience for customers when accessing digital or physical platforms, continues to be high on retailers’ list of priorities – and BOPIS is the only true route to achieving this connection.For it to function at an optimum level, sophisticated omnichannel inventory management technology needs to be in place to provide staff with visibility of orders, up-to-date stock levels and, for the very forward-thinking retailers out there, customer purchase history.With all this in place, retailers will be well on their way to controlling the customer journey, maintaining a single view of performance across stores and head office, and able to provide shoppers with the ultimate personalised service.
- Educate your store staff
With the likes of Walmart and Macy’s, and retailers from across Europe, identifying BOPIS’s positive impact on margins compared to home delivery, extra emphasis is being placed on developing this fulfilment method.And if they get their marketing right online that’s going to drive additional numbers into shops, giving store associates more to do on top of their day-to-day tasks. It’s imperative retailers have a people plan in place to deal with the expected growth in BOPIS customers entering the physical environment, and that their staff are sufficiently incentivised to serve those perceived as ‘online’ shoppers.
- Operation click & collect
It’s not just the number of people entering stores that will rise because of retailers ramping up their BOPIS efforts; parcel numbers and deliveries to store will mount up too.For that reason, sophisticated omnichannel inventory management techniques need to be established to ensure the store room does not get overrun with packages. A disorganised back office can cause confusion, delays and, crucially, customer disappointment at the point of collection.Click & collect, BOPIS, or any alternative term retailers use to describe the service, is supposed to boost convenience for customers. By running a seamless operation in-store they can ensure it meets this purpose and keeps shoppers happy and coming back for more.
- Hook ‘em in, sell them more
The traditional art of in-store merchandising should come to the fore as part of a well-prepared BOPIS customer journey, enticing shoppers to spend more.For retailers, the beauty of driving shoppers to collect purchases in store is they have a second opportunity to sell to an already-engaged customer. Positioning relevant inventory close to BOPIS desks and informing store associates of what is in customers’ parcels so they can upsell could have a major impact on facilitating incremental sales.Or like in the case of Harvey Nichols, a click online and try on in-store option can pave the way for a personal shopper service that multiplies sales and drives customer loyalty.
Retailers successfully mastering these techniques will soon find they’re getting even more out of their burgeoning BOPIS services.