BOPIS means making everything happen at once
Through a special arrangement, what follows is an excerpt of an article from WayfinD, a quarterly e-magazine filled with insights, trends and predictions from the retail and foodservice experts at WD Partners.
BOPIS promises to combine the timesaving convenience of online shopping with the instant gratification of in-store shopping. But problems start when stores can’t make everything happen at once.
In short, stores need to start thinking not only about the time burden they place on shoppers, but the once immutable progression of purchase behavior within discreet time phases. Simultaneous purchase, promotion and fulfillment — that’s the key to an effective pickup execution.
For stores considering an aggressive BOPIS rollout, here are some common execution challenges to consider:
1. Inventory management
Get products where they need to be, when they need to be there. For big box chain retailers, it’s particularly difficult to get the merchandising side of operations to give up space. Where does this often “paid for” inventory exist until it is picked up? How is it made readily accessible to consumers?
2. Retraining associates
Low satisfaction with retail associates already keeps consumers out of stores in the first place, and BOPIS consumers are by their nature short on time and patience. Flawless execution and expertise will enable cross-sell and upsell opportunities at or better than that achieved online.
Retailers must readjust traditional store formats to accommodate the hybrid purchase models of online shopping and in-store pickup. Do you need 50 checkout aisles if you have consumers paying online? What is the spatial and temporal distance between shelf/storage and the point-of-fulfillment for the customer? We’ve found most consumers don’t find back-of-store pay counters (right next to the inventory) appealing, yet good design would make all the difference.
4. Store format
In-store and offsite solutions are the most straightforward, requiring minimal investment in renovations, although for big box chain store retailers, it may require relocating fixtures. Drive-thru, kiosk and curbside pickup will all have to contend with weather and traffic flow, and customers won’t tolerate gridlock in parking lots. And how about branding? How can new spaces, whether lockers or kiosks, be thematically connected with the store? How can they be made to “feel” consistent with the overall brand?
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which of the BOPIS execution challenges listed in the article do you think is most important for retailers to focus on? What suggestions would you add to those in the article to improve BOPIS execution?