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What Marketers Need To Know About BOPIS, The Latest Buzzword In Online Shopping

August 8, 2019 Sarah Cavill

Marketers love a buzzword, especially if it can be used to describe a new trend. BOPIS, which means “buy online pay in store” and is sometimes also called “click and collect,” is the latest shopping trend – and buzzword – to take hold. And the trend is impacting the way retailers do business in a number of ways. When marketers create cross-channel strategies, promotions and mobile-facing campaigns for retail, BOPIS should be a consideration.

What Should Marketers Know About BOPIS?

There have long been experts claiming the brick-and-mortar experience is dead, when the reality is more complicated. The last several years have seen some strictly online stores moving into the brick-and-mortar space, and many brick-and-mortar stores integrating mobile-based promotions and digital innovations. Millennials and Gen Z are particularly drawn to integrated shopping experiences, and BOPIS is an another extension of that preferred shopping method.

Some noteworthy statistics about BOPIS illustrate the rise of this shopping approach and why marketers and brands should take note:

  • BOPIS increased 50% year-over-year (YOY) during the 2018 holiday season, according to Adobe Digital Insights (ADI). “Weary holiday shoppers continue to look for alternatives to crowded stores, long lines and empty shelves in the final push to Christmas,” said Taylor Schreiner, Director at ADI. “Retailers who can offer the easiest shopping experience, whether through excellent use of data to anticipate shoppers’ needs or by providing an option for picking up products at brick-and-mortar stores, are the ones people are flocking to [this holiday season].”

  • Home Depot, which renovated stores to make room for pick-up lockers and has a holistic, storewide approach to BOPIS, saw 48% of their online sales in 2018 use BOPIS. “[BOPIS has] presented a lot of challenges that we’ve had to work through as a team,” said Matt Jones, Senior Director of Online and Mobile for Home Depot. “But it’s clear that the customer is telling us this is how we want to shop and engage.”

  • According to a survey by International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), 50% of adults surveyed use click-and-collect (BOPIS), 61% of whom use it frequently. The ICSC Survey also asserts, “Click-and-collect demonstrates that having an online store augments in-store sales: 67 percent of click-and-collect users buy additional items from that retailer when picking up their original order, and 60 percent make a purchase at a nearby store.”

What Steps Should Be Taken For A Retailer Or Brand To Effectively Implement BOPIS?

Amazon and Walmart have been using BOPIS for several years in various iterations. Amazon has a locker system, while Walmart offers several pick-up solutions including a partnership with FedEx. Target’s in-store pick up is handled by their customer service desk. Macy’s and other big box stores adapting to consumers choosing the BOPIS method of delivery have similar approaches. How retail brands implement BOPIS in their marketing strategies differs from brand to brand, but there are steps retailers can take to make the experience seamless for the shopper and cost effective for the retailer.

Customer Experience Management (CXM) Should Be A Priority

CXM is particularly important at the time of BOPIS fulfillment. A recent study by customer experience experts Bell and Howell found wait times at pick up can be a point of frustration for BOPIS customers, particularly for customers who received alerts that their orders are ready. Bell and Howell further explain, “The data in our report indicates that retailers who are using traditional means to complete the BOPIS experience, whether it’s an associate finding an item, processing transactions or packaging the items, are struggling to execute at the store level in a timely manner. Additionally, retailers struggle to consistently schedule engaged and knowledgeable staff at the stores offering pickup. This is where automation such as smart lockers or pickup towers can greatly enhance the BOPIS experience.”

Customers who have a positive experience with BOPIS are more likely to use it again, and 94% of consumers who buy something online intending to pick it up in the store also intend to spend money in the store separate from their order. A happy customer is more likely to keep shopping. For example, 20% of Home Depot’s BOPIS customers made additional in-store purchases while picking up their ordered items from the Home Depot lockers. No wait and no worry means more time to browse and buy.

Make Mobile Use Seamless For Online Shoppers, Including BOPIS Shoppers

Although mobile shopping continues to grow by leaps and bounds, there are still conversion struggles. ADI found that, despite more than 51% of ecommerce site visits coming from smartphones during the 2018 holidays, only 31% of the ecommerce revenue from this period was generated on smartphones. Bell and Howell’s analysis showed that the 61% of users who preferred using their desktop likely did so because it made payments seamless, usually because of previously cookied information.

Store apps that want to make online shopping easier need to make payments as frictionless as possible and offer user experiences (UX) that don’t lead to cart abandonment. Retailers and brands interested in increasing their BOPIS sales can partner with shopping apps, integrate BOPIS options into their own apps or capitalize on app use to incentivize BOPIS mobile shoppers.

Understand Consumer Motivation & Incentivize BOPIS Activities

Walmart offers mobile app users the option to “check-in” on their Walmart app when they leave home to pick-up their BOPIS purchases. Once checked-in, Walmart estimates the customers’ arrival times and will have their items ready to pick up upon arrival. The Walmart check-in process makes the customer experience more satisfying and incorporates the app into Walmart’s BOPIS sales for more consistent mobile use by Walmart consumers.

Consumers are using BOPIS to reduce shipping costs, for general convenience and to avoid theft of their packages, so understanding why a consumer may be choosing BOPIS can offer more opportunities for promotions, upselling, cross-selling and incentives. Mobile couponing is growing in popularity, and BOPIS is another opportunity to target consumers looking for a deal.

As with any new shopping trend, marketers need to implement strategies that are true to their brands, that their customer bases want and that boost revenue. An innovative concept is only effective if it’s executed thoughtfully. The rise of BOPIS is another way in which consumers are asking for integrative shopping experiences, like showrooming or data-based, in-store push notifications, all of which take into account an omnichannel approach that is being embraced by consumers.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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