Retail analyst Dana Telsey recently said, “many retailers expect the majority of e-commerce orders to be fulfilled from stores over the next five years.” In fact, in-store pickups hit a record high this past holiday season, with a number of consumers opting to make a purchase online only to pick-up their orders in-store. “Buy online, pickup in-store” (BOPIS) was up 47% year-over-year.1
While BOPIS is by no means a new concept, it’s mission critical in today’s (and tomorrow’s) retail landscape. As the customer journey becomes more fluid and the lines between brick and mortar and online continue to blur, the way brands approach, innovate and operate their BOPIS solutions will win or lose them customers. That’s why WD Partners and Google have come together to offer innovative BOPIS solutions that are scalable, efficiently operated and designed with the customer at the center. Combining WD’s extensive retail experience bringing today’s best BOPIS solutions to life with Google’s innovative and seamless technology driven platforms, we’re shedding new light on this not so new proposition.
We first learned about consumers’ desire for BOPIS almost 6 years ago in our Wiring the Customer Experience research study. In this study we asked 2,000+ people about the retail technology they wanted to see in stores and BOPIS was THE number 1 ranked technology (86% put it in the top two boxes) for appeal. Fast forward 4 years and we decided to see what has changed when it comes to retail technologies and specifically BOPIS. What we found was staggering. The appeal for BOPIS went down 27% to only 59% (top two box score) YET usage had gone up 17%. Essentially consumers still wanted BOPIS and were definitely using it, but their satisfaction with the state of BOPIS within retail was tanking. Retailers just weren’t getting it. They were making customers come into the store to pick-up their order. They were making them stand in line with people returning items, getting price adjustments, etc. They didn’t have a standard place for BOPIS within all of their stores so it was a mystery every time you walked in. And they weren’t getting orders right, sending people home with the wrong items or even empty handed because of poor communication between online and in-store inventory management systems.
So here we are in 2019. And it’s gotten better. 70% of online shoppers have used BOPIS2 and 55% of the top US retailers are now offering BOPIS (compared to 44% in 2016) with 90% of them planning to offer it by 20213 . Yet we see a huge opportunity to make it even better.
If you’re not offering BOPIS, your competitors are. The big guys (Target, Macy’s, The Home Depot, Kroger) have been dominating BOPIS…launching, testing, iterating, improving. They’re doing better than most retailers and it’s time for others to catch up. There’s no time like the present to test a BOPIS solution for your brand.
While the growth rate of BOPIS usage is great, we’re not sure it’s reached the broader audience yet. And are people just trying it or are they truly adopting it? Retailers need to create more intuitive experiences that address customers’ major pain points (convenience, time, accuracy, speed customer service). Couple that with having less reliance on branded apps—did you know 2 in 3 shoppers say they achieve the same goal on a brand’s mobile site as they can on its app? They’ll have a much better chance of reaching a mass audience and greater adoption across customer segments.
Have you ever pulled into a store parking lot only to see the best parking spots designated for BOPIS and not a single car in one of those spots? Or maybe the opposite has happened and you’ve seen only one measly BOPIS marked parking spot and it happens to be buried in middle of the lot? Or one of our favorites is pulling into a BOPIS parking spot only to be directed to call a number to tell them you’re there and then you have to wait an additional 10+ minutes for them to bring you your order. First world problems, right? But the point is, most BOPIS solutions are not ready to scale to 40% of transactions as predicted in coming years. More robust deployments that consider store operations, staffing logistics and product inventory systems are required. Additionally, new technology from Google owned Waze allows customers to seamlessly communicate with retailers their location and anticipated pick-up time allowing for a frictionless experience across the board.
There’s room to grow. Get better. Be smarter. Retail continues to change. Third party shopping services are growing. Cashier-less stores aren’t in beta testing anymore. Robots are delivering food. Robots! Can you imagine what BOPIS looks like in 2025? We can. Shoot us a note at email@example.com to get the conversation started.