With the advent of pandemic restrictions came a massive increase in e-Commerce, but while that shift may have boosted sales for online businesses, it left the already struggling brick and mortar retailers in the lurch. Thanks to restrictions and COVID-19 guidelines, some retailers were closed for weeks or had capacity limitations that left them hurting.
However, as some restrictions were lifted, a new surge in BOPIS or buy-online-pickup-in-store began to take shape.
Shoppers are getting even more comfortable with online shopping
Thanks in large part to more consumers than ever becoming comfortable with online shopping, and the general slowdowns experienced in shipping thanks to a severely overloaded system, shoppers began seeking out ways to patronize businesses closer to home, get what they need, and limit their in-person interactions. Enter the BOPIS model- the perfect way for retailers to drive more in-store traffic, utilize brick and mortar stores as a type of fulfillment center, and connect both online and offline shopping experiences- making it a prime component of the omnichannel retail experience.
Consumers are also less-forgiving of delays
For many consumers, shipping fees and delays are a major factor in purchasing decisions. Despite the patience that was shown by general consumers at the beginning of the pandemic, retailers who cannot guarantee purchases arriving within a few days may see a loss in sales and consumer expectations shift back to the two-day shipping window of the pre-pandemic times. One way to circumvent that? Offering BOPIS.
Retailers that offer BOPIS to their customers allow for the convenience of same-day delivery windows without the costs of shipping or delays. As part of an omnichannelretail experience, consumers, in general, want flexibility and options, and including a BOPIS program does just that. Shoppers get the convenience of deciding which items they want to purchase and pick up right away, and which they can consider ordering and waiting for, all without having the inconvenience of browsing in-store, interacting with multiple potential disease vectors, and spending time in the store.
BOPIS is most beneficial to families
Large families benefit from the BOPIS model, as it allows them to browse the app or website at their leisure, place their order, and pick up at their convenience, shopping trips completed. Large retailers like Target, Walmart, and major grocery chains have been making use of this model for some time, and since the pandemic have seen a significant uptick in use. Most businesses using the BOPIS model have apps associated with their brand, allowing the customer to make purchases with the most convenience to them- selecting items, time, and location for pickup. BOPIS as a shopping model integrates incredibly conveniently with mobile devices- which makes it a huge selling point for consumers looking to shop and make purchases with the least amount of friction.
While some stores include curbside pickup as a part of their model, and take the customer service experience the extra mile, many include a designated pickup area within the store where customers simply check in with an associate and receive their items. No matter the method, texts, push notifications, or emails keep the communication process throughout the order smooth and clear between customer and retailer.
BOPIS is nothing new but the pandemic has made it a more common retail model
BOPIS has proven to be successful and well-received among both consumers and retailers. It had already been a fairly successful model during the holiday season when some shoppers want to avoid lingering in overcrowded shopping destinations, skipping long lines to simply pick up their purchases quickly and conveniently.
Customers who had previous experiences with BOPIS are more likely to continue doing so, having experienced the pleasant and low-maintenance shopping experience once led to repeat purchases, one of the driving forces behind the increase in popularity. A recent survey had roughly half of respondents claim that after using BOPIS its availability became a deciding factor in future purchases.
As the retail landscape continues to evolve, and various omnichannel and e-commerce functions become the new reality, BOPIS has shown it has staying power and continues to grow in popularity even as many retailers have reopened post-pandemic restrictions.
Apparently, once shoppers experience the convenience, they’re not going back- making BOPIS the possible future for all major retailers.