Why Retailers Should Offer Buy Online Pick-Up in Store Services
The global pandemic has created impetus for a host of remote shopping options, from shipping directly to consumers to curb-side pickup. One shopping option that has been increasing in popularity in recent years is the buy-online-pick-up-in-store (“BOPIS”) model, which enables customers to shop online, anytime, from any device, and pick up their purchase at their nearest store. Without pick-up services, retailers risk losing shoppers who seek convenient, omni-channel shopping options – particularly those who want their purchase as soon as possible, but don’t want to spend the time required to shop in-store.
What is buy-online-pick-up-in-store shopping?
Just as it sounds, the “BOPIS” service model means customers are able to make purchases online and pick up the items at their choice of store (generally, the one nearest the customer). While online, shoppers have access to the retailer’s in-store stock and their online stock at the same time, giving customers a wider variety of purchase options. Depending on how readily available the item is, the customer may have the choice to pick up their purchase that same day, or after the item has been shipped to the store.
The “pick-up” model enables customers to shop when they want, and predictably receive their item in a timely manner. When buy-online-pick-up-in-store services are well executed, customers find they provide:
- Convenience – generally, customers don’t have to wait very long for their order to be available, and they don’t have to travel far for items not available at their local store
- Optionality – customers have access to a wider range of stock items and can choose between purchases that are available immediately and those they’d have to wait for
- Seamless shopping – customers know their pick-up times, and can simply arrive, provide their proof of purchase, and leave with their items without long wait-times or line-ups
How do retailers benefit?
At the start of 2020 (and pre-pandemic), only 31% of Canadian retailers were offering BOPIS services, which lagged in comparison to the global average of 37.6%. Along with a host of other modern technology , the “pick-up” model offers merchants the opportunity to create a simple, seamless shopping experience for their customers. Not only is buy-online-pick-up-in-store convenient for customers, but it provides benefits for retailers too. For the merchant, BOPIS services can:
- Drive customer loyalty – customers appreciate and now expect options and convenience when it comes to shopping. With the proliferation of internet-connected technology, customers expect to buy and receive items the way they want. By offering purchase pick-up, retailers are creating simple avenues for individual preferences. On the other hand, the more friction there is tied to buying something, the more it will detract customer purchases.
- Reduce shipping costs – typically in-store pick-up is faster than direct-to-consumer shipping, making it a more attractive option for the customer. As a result, shipping to customers, which is actually more costly, is often reduced.
- Increase spontaneous purchases – the “pick-up” counter creates an opportunity for retailers to increase impulse purchases when the customer comes in-store. Retailers who leverage data to understand shopping behaviours may find there are certain purchases that can be well-placed to drive impulse buys when customers come into the store.
In today’s modern, increasingly tech-driven market, retailers are faced with two options: adopt technology and stay ahead of the curve, or risk being left behind. Today’s consumers want shopping to be simple and seamless, and buy-online-pick-up-in-store services are one component of that experience. Along with electronic shelf labels, personalized shopping and convenient, flexible payment options, including digital financing, BOPIS provides a modern, omni-channel shopping experience that can offer the competitive edge retailers need to stay afloat.
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