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Study: BOPIS usage tops holiday shopping lists this year

If retailers want to maximize in-store foot traffic this holiday season, they must focus on buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) services.

In fact, 58% of consumers said they’ll rely on the BOPIS fulfillment option this holiday shopping season, an increase of 25% over last year, according to “Holiday Consumer Trends Report: 2017 Edition,” a report from Kibo.

Consumers are attracted to BOPIS for a variety of reasons. The top ones include saving on shipping costs (66%), saving time while in-store (53%), and getting the product when it’s convenient (39%). This holiday season, BOPIS services are key to retailers maximizing in-store foot traffic, and thereby cement their brands’ reputations for stellar service across both digital and physical buying touchpoints, the study said.

“It’s clear that consumer expectations for this holiday season are as high as ever, and retailers need to prepare by providing connected and seamless experiences across online and physical channels,” said Tushar Patel, chief marketing officer, Kibo. “BOPIS fulfillment and accessible inventory information are going to take center stage this season for the seemingly obvious reasons of saving busy holiday shoppers time and money.”

Shoppers are so value-savvy that 70% of shoppers expect to receive free shipping during the holidays, a clear influence of Amazon Prime. Almost half of shoppers surveyed (46%) indicated the top way to improve their experience is for retailers to provide offers and promotions that are relevant to their current gift search. Meanwhile, 70% of shoppers indicated a relevant discount will make them more likely to visit or shop on a website during the holidays.

Customers also have pre-requisites to round out their store visits. For example, over half of shoppers (54%) said they use online inventory information to justify a trip to a store during the holidays. Meanwhile, 67% of shoppers expect free shipping when gifts are returned, and 65% expect to be able to return an online purchase to a store.

“Retailers can further enhance their odds of winning more consumers by providing better personalized and relevant product recommendations and promotional offers,” said Patel.

“Consumers are shopping on the behalf of others this time of year. Personalization solutions that rely only on typical past behaviors will seem completely irrelevant while shopping for gifts,” he added. “Only real-time individualization solutions can predict buying intent and change the offers in response to consumers’ real-time shopping behaviors. The benefits of this continues beyond the holiday season, as consumers fall back into more normal shopping behaviors. No shopper wants be haunted for the next six months by the doll they purchased for their niece at Christmas.”
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