Everything Brands Need to Know About BOPIS
By Sean Reiter, vice president of marketing for PriceSpider
Many large retailers today are offering their customers a popular purchase option that online sellers can’t provide: buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS), also known as click and collect. For brands, this means your customers have yet another incentive to consider buying from retailers instead of purchasing directly from you.
So, what is BOPIS? Why do consumers like it? And more importantly: what can you do about it? Let’s take a look.
What is BOPIS?
BOPIS works just like it sounds: you buy something online and pick it up at the store. It bridges the gap between ecommerce and brick-and-mortar stores. Consumers can enjoy the convenience of shopping online (view ratings and reviews, quickly find what they need, etc.), with the added convenience of collecting their items at a nearby store.
Stores that offer BOPIS generally have a designated area for picking up purchases. Some, like Home Depot, have secure boxes so online customers can “self-serve” and grab their items without an employee. Others lump it into the same lanes they use for returns and customer service.
For BOPIS to be effective, a retailer needs a physical presence that matches their online customer base. If you have a national online presence but only a handful of brick and mortar stores, BOPIS is only going to serve a small percentage of your customer base. Nobody is going to drive out of state for something they could have shipped to their door – or that they could pick up at a local retailer.
That’s why most brands don’t offer it, and why it’s such an effective option for major retailers. They have local stores all over the U.S., and many of their customers shop online. So, they’re in the best position to combine the convenience of both shopping experience, which also gives them a competitive advantage.
Why consumers prefer BOPIS
In 2018, almost half of all purchases on HomeDepot.com were BOPIS or BOSS (buy online, ship to store). And in a survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers, Doddle found that 68 percent had used BOPIS multiple times.
BOPIS is clearly working for major retailers. It’s become so popular, so fast, because it gives customers the best of both worlds. Here are just a few reasons why people love it.
They don’t have to waste time wandering aisles
For most retail purchases, it’s easier to shop online than in person. Customers don’t have to walk across the store or ask an associate to help them find the right aisle. Whether they’re looking for a product category or a specific brand, they can find what they want in seconds via search. They also have more convenient tools for comparison shopping and identifying the best product in a category: ratings and reviews.
The shopping experience is faster. And while buying online normally saves people a trip to the store, BOPIS saves them money and gets them their product sooner.
They don’t have to pay or wait for shipping
Shipping is valuable when local stores don’t have what people need, or it’s inconvenient to get there. But if there’s a brick-and-mortar store nearby or they’re already going to the store for other items, they can eliminate shipping costs and just get it in store.
And if someone needs your product for something urgent (like a big weekend project), waiting several days for it to ship could throw their schedule off another week, or allow a problem to get worse. Picking it up in store means it’s ready to use, as soon as they get home.
It’s more secure
Especially during the holidays, package theft is a big concern for consumers. If a package arrives while they’re at work, there’s a chance someone will steal it before they get home. So, some people prefer BOPIS because they don’t trust their neighborhood or aren’t home often. Picking up in store means no package on your porch.
What can brands do about BOPIS?
BOPIS is a purchase method most brands can’t offer. Thankfully, it’s also a battle you don’t have to fight. Some of your customers simply prefer the convenience of picking up your products in store.
When you fight for direct sales and refuse to highlight retailers that carry your products, you risk losing sales. Instead of battling against BOPIS, why not just streamline the path to purchase? Show your customers where they can buy your products, and then let them choose the buying method they prefer – whether that’s getting it shipped directly from you, or purchasing it from a local retailer who offers BOPIS.
Contributed by Sean Reiter, vice president of marketing for PriceSpider.