A study by retail research firm StellaService has found that in-store pickup is not necessarily much of a time-saver for shoppers. Shopping in store without an online purchase actually required a couple minutes less on average (1.1 minutes) than buying online and picking up in store (BOPIS), which took on average 3.1 minutes.
Online orders took anywhere from about 10 minutes to a couple of hours to be ready for pickup from the time of the order, according to the study.
To conduct the study, StellaService made both in-store and BOPIS purchases at a variety of U.S. retailers, including Target, Best Busy, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sears, Staples, Toys R Us, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
This StellaService study is one of the rare detailed assessments of how in-store pickup works in the real world. The results have received some attention because they seem to show that the service is not much of a time saver for consumers. It’s worth looking at, and it may indicate that retailers need to give their buy online-in-store pickup services some attention, to ensure that it’s not just an afterthought in practice.
But the service is popular with shoppers, and it may not be much about saving time, anyway. Many shoppers like the option of doing the research, legwork, and decision-making online and then heading to the store, where their purchases are all ready and waiting for them.