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The role of supply chain management in a successful BOPIS offering

BOPIS concept
BOPIS relies upon supply chain management.

The COVID-19 has pandemic flipped retail on its head.

While “Buy Online, Pick-up in Store” (BOPIS) proved invaluable among social distancing guidelines, it was never seen as the long-term roadmap for most retailers.

Now, with consumers relishing its flexibility, BOPIS is no longer considered a convenient differentiator but a necessary survival strategy for retailers large and small. Research suggests almost two-thirds of shoppers are now interested in click-and-collect services.

However, executing a BOPIS strategy at scale touches nearly every aspect of a retailer’s operations. What’s more, these orders can be fulfilled in many different ways: from store inventory, from a store’s distribution center or directly from a supplier to the store. Because of its complexity, delivering a successful BOPIS requires both speed and synchronization.

So, how can managers across supply chains navigate these challenges and reap the rewards of BOPIS?

Understanding the benefits
A BOPIS strategy connects online and in-person experiences, supporting a stronger omnichannel customer journey

It allows retailers to level the playing field with competitors, empowering them to meet customer demands. A BOPIS strategy can help retailers grow their sales through an expanded product offering. Further, BOPIS can reduce shipping costs by grouping deliveries to a single store instead of homes.

By driving traffic to stores, retailers can often cross-sell products and services. One study showed 75 percent of shoppers who use BOPIS are more likely to purchase additional products.

BOPIS also speeds up order fulfilment, allowing shoppers to pick up their purchases much quicker than if they opt for home delivery.

Supply and demand
Today’s consumers value convenience. They want their orders fulfilled quickly and to complete their purchases or make returns efficiently.

This requires retailers to offer the latest inventory data available to the consumer, updated in real-time. Implementing the right technology is key to providing this synchronous service.

A successful approach involves connecting all components of the retailer’s business systems and their suppliers’ business systems to share real-time data on inventory, order statuses and more.

Systems must be in place so staff can easily access an accurate record of all orders and updated stock levels across warehouses and stores. This ensures optimum customer experience and satisfaction while avoiding errors and delays.

Boosting customer experience
Allowing customers to purchase items online and pick them up either curbside or in-store accommodates prevailing customer demands for safety, efficiency and convenience.

Recent research found 83 percent of consumers find shopping convenience to be more important than it was five years ago.

BOPIS pairs the convenience of online ordering with the speed of picking items up from a local store. Customers can choose a time that works best for them, but retailers must play their role in this convenient service with a quick collection process, including designated parking and pick-up locations that allow customers to avoid in-store queues.

However, to implement BOPIS successfully, retailers will need to align supply chain data across their systems and with their supplier community. This is key in providing accurate stock data and real-time order processing and fulfilment updates that allow consumers to achieve a quick and convenient BOPIS experience.

Retailers must also communicate clearly with customers across multiple channels on how to best use click and collect services in stores to ensure an efficient and seamless pick-up experience while minimizing wait times.

An accurate, reliable inventory also prevents customers from getting out-of-stock notifications after they’ve ordered and allows customers to track their order from purchase to collection.

Agile inventory
Retailers must have a clear view of their inventory regardless of how an order is fulfilled. Implementing relevant underlying technology is key to successful BOPIS execution, particularly in ensuring each product is in the right place at the right time to satisfy a customer’s fulfilment preference.

This way, goods can be tracked and managed to ensure they arrive in-store in time for collection without accumulating excess inventory on-site. The result is a seamless overview of stock availability and location data that facilitates quick and convenient shopping.

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