Shoppers are buying more goods than ever online, but they also are increasingly picking the items up at — and returning them to — brick-and-mortar store.
That's according to JDA Software's third annual “JDA Consumer Survey,” in which 50% of respondents used BOPIS services in the last 12 months, up 44% from JDA's 2015 consumer survey. In-store returns of goods purchased online is also way up: Nearly one in three shoppers took advantage of buy online return in store (BORIS) services this year, up from only 20% in 2016.
“While there has been speculation of a ‘retail apocalypse,’ that doesn’t seem to hold true for consumers," said Jim Prewitt, VP of retail industry strategy at JDA. "No longer the only channel for shopping, brick-and-mortar stores are still a key cornerstone for a quick and easy shopping experience and the facilitator for popular fulfillment options, like BOPIS and buy online return in store (BORIS).”
The JDA survey revealed that by offering incentives, retailers could significantly increase the number of shoppers who take advantage of BOPIS. Eighty percent of shoppers said they would consider using BOPIS if retailers offered price discounts or incentives. (In April, Walmart announced it would start offering a discount on select BOPIS items.)
"While some retailers are already testing out ways to incentivize consumers to choose BOPIS services over home delivery, our research found that this could be a successful way to capture shopper attention in today’s competitive marketplace and further validate the role that BOPIS will play in the success of retail stores,” said Prewitt. “By offering incentives to shoppers to use BOPIS, like discounting, retailers are driving more foot traffic into stores, and potentially, buying more than they intended to, once they arrive at the store, boosting store sales.”
In addition to leveraging existing store inventory and streamlining shipping logistics, BOPIS provides a sales opportunity for retailers. Of the respondents that use buy online pickup in store services, 40% “sometimes” made additional purchases in-store.
BOPIS adoption remains tied to consumers’ desire for convenience. Avoiding home delivery (40%) and wanting the product sooner (33%) remain the top reasons for selecting the fulfillment option, similar to findings in 2016 and 2015. And with more retailers successfully implementing the service, 58% respondents did not experience a problem with the service during the last year.
But problems still exist, and they continue to be associated with mismanaged staffing. Twenty-three percent of respondents found that store staff took a long time or were unable to find the shopper’s order in their store system, and 16% found that there were no dedicated in-store staff for BOPIS purchases. This is consistent with 2016 results, and showcases the need to refine workforce management for new fulfillment channels, according to JDA.
In other findings from the report:
• Forty-four percent of respondents who returned goods purchased online in stores did so because the item was not what they expected it to be. Over 30% used BOPIS because they did not want to deal with the hassle of return deliveries, and 17% did so because they believed they would receive their refund/exchange faster.
• Twenty-six percent of respondents have leveraged social media to purchase an item online, with those ages 18-29 years old more likely to do so (35%) than other age groups. Facebook (81%) and Instagram (26%) were the most widely used social media channels for online purchases.
“Social media continues to be a channel for consumers to browse, but is still emerging as a path-to-purchase,” Prewitt said. “That means retailers need to continue refining these channels as shoppers begin to embrace them, particularly as the Gen Z generation of shoppers increases.”