While e-commerce has taken the world by storm over the past couple of decades, the predicted end of bricks and mortar retail has been greatly exaggerated.
In reality, a symbiosis between online shopping and visits to physical stores has evolved, in part as a result in the rise in demand for BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) as an option at the checkout.
Successful implementation of a BOPIS strategy can be tricky if you are new to the concept, so here is a look at the best routes to achieving this.
Creating a great customer experience
First and foremost, the in-store pickup experience has to be optimized so that your BOPIS offering is seamless for those that use it, and indeed perhaps even preferable to ordering online for home delivery.
In this context, speed is the name of the game, as it is best to be able to offer customers a collection slot as quickly as possible after their order is placed. Being able to give them access to the items they have already paid for as soon as possible is the only way to compete with major retailers that are already many years into their own BOPIS implementation.
Clear communication is also key; being able to provide customers with alerts when their order is ready for collection, or updates if there are any issues, will keep them in the loop and ensure that they are not dissatisfied with the experience when they do arrive at the store for pickup.
Avoiding stock issues
There is nothing more frustrating than ordering something online for in-store collection, only to arrive at the location to discover that the item in question is actually out of stock.
It is crucial for retailers to bring their stock monitoring systems up to scratch if they want to avoid this scenario, as being able to track inventory in real-time will mean that you can push out updates to your e-commerce site and mobile apps on the fly, rather than potentially causing disappointment for customers that get unlucky.
This will be simpler for firms with just one location, but if you do have multiple retail outlets then ensuring that your stock tracking is unified across every store is also a must.
Provide unambiguous instructions
It is best to assume that customers who want to use BOPIS are doing so for the first time, so will need to be told exactly what they need to do upon arrival at the store.
You can do this via landing pages on your website, as well as emailed instructions along with the order confirmation. Although of course there is no guarantee that these will be read, which also means you have to install adequate signage both outside and inside the store to direct customers to where they need to go.
Last but not least, give the same care and attention to the instructions provided to employees that will be fulfilling your BOPIS service, and you should quickly see positive results for your efforts and investment.