A Very BOPIS Holiday

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A Very BOPIS Holiday

By Jeff Warren - 12/06/2019

The holidays are right around the corner, and as we see the adoption of new modes of retail becoming mainstream (subscriptions, retail-as-a-service, rentals) we also expect to see consumer fulfillment preferences evolve. It doesn’t take a clairvoyant to predict mobile sales will be up again year over year, and we think it’s pretty safe to assume buy online, pick up in store will be on trend again this year.

BOPIS has gained incredible traction, particularly around the holidays, and has quickly become a favored channel for many customers. According to GPShopper, many consumers are turning to BOPIS to eliminate the common stressors of holiday shopping, including long lines, out of stock items and online orders arriving too late. What’s more, research from Oracle Retail found that 30% of millennials and 25% of Gen Z consumers will go the BOPIS route and pick up the gifts they ordered online in the store, compared to just 14% of baby boomers, signaling this trend may grow with younger generations’ spending power.

By offering BOPIS, retailers not only draw coveted foot traffic into the store but also lead the way for new, positive customer experiences. To have a successful holiday season, retailers need to build their strategy for BOPIS – from catering to customers in a rush to finding ways to maintain a personal touch throughout the pickup process. Here’s what should be on every retailer’s list:

Rethink the Store UX

When we talk e-commerce, we think about things like click stream data, anonymous and known visitors and navigation patterns. That same level of analysis should be applied to the store UX. In the case of BOPIS, this can mean switching gears from sales to service to make the experience as expedient and seamless as possible for the consumer. It could also mean picking additional items and having them at the ready for the associate to offer at the point of pickup so you can upsell gracefully.

From serving up critical information about inventory and customer attributes to untethering associates from the traditional POS, a mobile store strategy is quickly becoming the only strategy for the future retail environment. Above all other characteristics of a store (e.g. a place for discovery or expert advice), 56% of global consumers value convenience as the most important attribute of a great store experience.

We are seeing really innovative approaches to mobile in store – consider the experience at Chalhoub Group in Dubai, or Louis Vuitton’s Maison Champs-Élysées Store in Paris, France. A mobile-only store experience is on the tipping point of absolutely essential, particularly during the holidays when long lines and infinite waiting is a recipe for customer dissatisfaction and cart abandonment (literally).

Predictively Place Store Inventory

Real-time inventory visibility is mission-critical to the modern retail environment. And it’s not enough to be able to see it; you need to be able to act upon it (reserve, pick and pack). BOPIS makes this more complicated as you now have the added dimension of customers actioning inventory. Predictive inventory placement and putting your customer at the center of your store inventory management business processes and decisions will enable you to ensure optimal sell-through and higher customer satisfaction.

This is not only important during the holidays. Consumers are increasingly less forgiving when it comes to a miss on fulfillment promises. In fact, 13% will never shop with a retailer again if they fail to deliver when they say they will – and in the case of BOPIS that “delivery promise” is the instore pickup. Stores are quickly becoming the first point of entry for the retail supply chain – retailers need to ensure their store inventory management systems and processes can scale to handle massive SKU volume and simultaneously are functionally rich enough to cover a broad set of “front-end” supply chain activities.

Orchestrate Individual Interactions

With a BOPIS model, retailers have a unique opportunity to engage with a known customer in an individual manner. You know exactly who is coming into the store, when and what they will be retrieving. We’re familiar with all the best practices – from simple things like stocking small upsell items close by (in the case of one of our beloved customers, Hamleys, batteries are HUGE) to added services such as gift-wrapping or a concierge to cross off the rest of guests’ shopping lists. In the case of fashion, it’s a best practice to stock apparel items in alternate sizes for customers to try on at pickup to mitigate the risk of losing the sale due to inadequate fit. These are the basics, but how can retailers up-level their BOPIS strategy to drive bigger share of wallet and same-store sales?

We’ve run multiple scenarios for retailers looking to move beyond best practice to next practice retail and drive incremental revenue at the point of service during a BOPIS transaction. In one example, the retailer was seeing 45% of all orders picked up in store from known customers—giving the retailer clarity on who would be in their stores and when. We can use this identified traffic and transactions to predict with a high precision what offers are most likely to generate additional purchases. From there, we can proactively individualize offers and promotions to influence the next purchase. The upside of this next practice scenario netted out at 12 million additional transactions valued at over $760 million in revenue. You can see the details here.

While many consumers are just beginning to plan their holiday expenditures, the time is now for retailers to solidify their holiday BOPIS strategies and make the most of their interactions with consumers who stop in to pick up orders. Retailers who choose next practice over best practice and take advantage of the data at their fingertips will surely have a festive season in store.

Jeff Warren is Oracle Retail’s VP of retail solutions management.

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