While the role of e-commerce continues to change the landscape for both pure-play and brick and mortar channels, savvy retailers are leveraging their physical locations by integrating them with their online experiences. The buy online, pick-up in store (BOPIS) revolution is changing the way consumers interact with retailers.
UPS alone estimated it delivered 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 2018, up 5% from the same holiday period last year. Thriving in today’s dynamic retail environment requires a strategy for successfully executing a BOPIS model. The best place for retailers to start is evaluating their current activities.
Step 1: Evaluate the Process: Begin by becoming a secret shopper and trying out the experience at other retailers who also offer BOPIS to see the process from a different vantage point. Pay close attention to the timing of the process to see if there are ways to improve it; comparing BOPIS execution in the broader market to spur out-of-the-box thinking will help retailers refine their own process.
Step 2: Gain Insight into your Inventory: The success of BOPIS lives and dies with inventory visibility. If you don’t have strong visibility into the availability of items, then your customers won’t either, which makes BOPIS a painful strategy. A fully transparent and integrated system alleviates employee and customer frustration of offering products that are out of stock or no longer available. Shoppers are not likely to wait for an item that isn’t available, opting instead for a retailer where it is ready for immediate pick-up.
Step 3: Select a BOPIS Solution: Several BOPIS fulfillment options exist, but not every solution will be right for your stores. Automated lockers are unique in that they can be either a standalone solution or be paired with other BOPIS options. Automated lockers leverage both the store’s location and streamline the pick-up process, freeing up employees to serve the customer in other ways. As it only takes customers seconds to retrieve their purchase out of a locker, it is also a highly convenient solution for customers – especially when utilizing outdoor lockers which can be available 24/7.
Step 4: Train your Team: Make sure your team is ready and armed with what they need to be successful. Develop an internal cross-functional group that will continually review every aspect of the business – fulfillment to IT, and e-commerce to payment processing, to ensure seamless integration with existing systems. Then, invest in quality employee training to ensure compliance with executing the identified best practices.
Step 5: Plan your Communication: Make sure you have a thorough and clear communications plan to educate consumers about BOPIS and your specific process. Visibly promote this in-demand service on your website, in the email/text communication with your customers, and with in-store signage. Use an automated locker as an extension of your store’s signage and include a coupon/special offer in the locker for an in-store purchase to further motivate customers to stay and shop after picking up their online order.
Step 6: Evaluate your Success: Set up reporting to provide quick insight into the ROI of your BOPIS offering and trend information that may highlight any areas that need additional attention. Also, consider sending BOPIS satisfaction surveys to assess how you are doing and include plenty of open-ended questions for consumer feedback where you can learn how best to tweak your program. Web portal dashboards available with automated lockers provide quick access to historical and real-time locker data which help monitor your ongoing success.
Consumers are increasingly utilizing BOPIS because it’s convenient and allows them fast and frictionless order fulfillment; meaning it’s not a trend, it’s a fulfillment revolution. From Package Concierge’s internal customer satisfaction surveys, 94% stated that BOPIS locker retrieval was faster than customer service counter retrieval. BOPIS leverages the biggest asset for a retailer, the physical location, making it a business imperative for retailers to continue to look for ways to improve the BOPIS customer experience in the coming year.
Package Concierge®, the innovator of Automated Locker Management, has managed over 30 million package transactions nationwide, including processing more than three million transactions during the 2018 holiday season. Schedule a personalized consultation with our experts during NRF in booth #716 to discuss a no-risk BOPIS trial in your own stores. Simply click here to reserve your time, or visit our website, www.packageconcierge.com/retail to learn more.