7 Reasons Retailers Need to Embrace BOPIS Post-Pandemic

As we assess the impact of the pandemic, it is becoming clear that consumers’ purchasing habits and expectations have irreversibly changed. Lockdowns, social distancing, and travel restrictions, brought on by the pandemic, resulted in the acceleration and adoption of the buy-online-pickup-in-store option, commonly referred to as “BOPIS”. 

As we look forward to the end of the pandemic, several questions must now be answered:

  • Should retailers continue to offer BOPIS?
  • Should retailers try to augment BOPIS services?
  • Does BOPIS have a place in a world with no more shopping restrictions?

The answer appears to be an overwhelming “YES”.

Research suggests that retailers who sell both online and in-store should continue to offer a robust and customer-friendly BOPIS solution.[1] Here are the key reasons why:

1. Reduced Delivery Charges

BOPIS eliminates the cost of shipping, a negative factor for consumers who shop online. These solutions provide customers with the option to pick up their items with no shipping charges. In fact, 48% of consumers use BOPIS for this reason.

2. No Risk Receipt

Customers picking up their goods in-store can be assured that the items will be stored securely and won’t be stolen or damaged. Goods that are damaged or stolen cause significant problems with home deliveries. Having an option that can avoid this provides consumers with peace of mind.

3. Easy, No Cost Returns

When items are picked up in store they can be quickly examined. If they are not what the customer wanted, they can be returned on the spot without any hassle or added costs.

4. No Wasted Trips

BOPIS solutions allow customers to know when the products they have ordered are in stock, avoiding the time and cost of a wasted trip when items are unavailable.

5. Secondary Sales

When customers go to the store to pick up items purchased online, they make unplanned additional purchases. According to research, this occurs 85% of the time.

6. Competitive Advantage

Retailers who establish strong BOPIS systems are known to take sales (both online and in-store) away from competitors. The closer they are to a competitor that doesn’t offer a BOPIS solution, the more they take.

7. Drive Additional Sales

Retailers can encourage additional purchases when customers arrive to pick up their order by sending them real-time, digital coupons at the time of pickup. 

Retailers must consider how to best implement a BOPIS solution that is cost-effective, efficient, and customer-centric. Prior to the pandemic, retailers had already been experimenting with various forms of BOPIS solutions. The two most common solutions offered as the pandemic wore on included curbside pickup and in-store pickup. The variants of both curbside and in-store pickup varied, even including kiosk centres and the introduction of smartphone apps. 

As life begins to return to normal, retailers are just now learning how successful or unsuccessful their BOPIS solution has been. Companies took a “whatever it takes” approach during the pandemic to keep the registers ringing. Looking back, three challenges have become apparent:

1. Labor costs

Curbside pickup requires at least one employee to tend to a single customer, making this BOPIS solution extremely expensive without surcharging products to cover the cost.

2. Wait times

In-store pickup solutions, usually utilizing the customer service desk, often left customers waiting to receive their orders, defeating one of the benefits of BOPIS.

3. No upselling

Retailers were unable to leverage their BOPIS solution to drive secondary sales or encourage additional purchases when customers arrived.

Customers want to frequent retailers who offer multiple ways to shop and receive their purchases. While manned, employee-driven BOPIS solutions may have been just enough during the pandemic, the accelerated growth and adoption of smart parcel lockers may be the solution that bridges the gap between the customer’s expectations and the retailer’s focus on the bottom line.

Smart Parcel Lockers automate the deposit, storage, and dissemination of orders. With today’s technology, Smart Lockers provide a BOPIS solution for a cost not possible using manned service counters or curbside delivery.

To learn more about smart parcel lockers, contact Parcel Port at www.theparcelport.com or call 1-800-818-0870.


[1] https://hbr.org/2021/05/how-buy-online-pick-up-in-store-gives-retailers-an-edge