Study: What consumers expect when they buy online, pick up in store
Haroon Abbu, Ph.D.
In the age of evolving consumer preferences enabled by digital technologies, customers continue demanding convenience and ease of use while shopping online. Additionally, they want instant gratification of purchasing items in the store and, increasingly, a combination of the two. To this effect, the buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) option, or click and collect experience, has become a key component of customer satisfaction, loyalty and revenue growth.
For retailers, click and collect has become a key component of their overall digital commerce strategy, allowing them to leverage their brick-and-mortar stores to provide a more convenient and personal buying experience while helping them save money. Once the online customer is physically in the store to pick up their items, businesses have a unique opportunity to entice them to make additional purchases. In fact, 69% of consumers who used BOPIS this past holiday season purchased additional items while picking up in a store. Additionally, 36% of shoppers using those types of services made another purchase in an adjacent store at the time of pickup.
Bell and Howell conducted a survey-based study of 530 random shoppers from across the United States to analyze what these shoppers believe to be most important about their click-and- collect experience.(Seventy percent of the shoppers used the option in the last year.) The study revealed that the three essential elements of click-and-collect are cost, speed and convenience.
Here are some key findings from the study:
• Financial motivation (i.e., saving on shipping charges) was the key driver (76%) for selecting the BOPIS option. Speed and convenience (the urgency of picking up an item on the same day) was next in importance.
• A quick in-and-out experience is at the top of customers’ minds while picking up items at the store. No waiting in line, ease of finding the pickup location, a dedicated pickup counter, and designated parking spots may contribute to the quick in-and-out experience.
• When it comes to being notified, speed was once again the consistent theme, as 83% expected to hear back within 24 hours or less after placing an order online that their item is ready for pickup. Nearly 60% expected to hear within the first four hours.
• Convenience was the key driver for pickup location, as 77% preferred to pick up their items either at the front of the store or curbside. Only 8% were willing to pick up their items at the back of the store.
• Eighty percent expect to be able pick up their items in under 10 minutes from the time they enter the store, with a full 27% expecting less than four minutes
• Consumers rated filling orders accurately and in time as the most important aspect of an excellent experience. The option to pay in-store, a try-and-buy option, and dedicated parking spots are less important.
It is clear from the study that consumers want speed, convenience and timely communication for a better BOPIS experience. Currently, a small portion of total purchases are completed through click and collect, but it is growing in use, with 49% of Americans trying it for the first time in 2016.
Retailers can benefit from creating a winning in-store experience — 59% of buyers expect to purchase additional items at least some of the time. Retailers should explore if they can provide incentives to convert the 41% of customers who are not likely to purchase additional items.
It is interesting to note that 77% of shoppers did not want to be dragged all the way to the back of the store to pick up their items. Businesses should balance their financial motives to upsell patrons entering their stores to pick up their items with the speed and convenience that they expect.
Retailers should focus on creating a winning in-store experience by enabling what matters most to click and collect consumers: speed, convenience and timely communication.