As BOPIS continues to grow in importance to retailers, you can bet that the investments will be made to manage inventory, improve processes and hire/train dedicated staff. But there is one more area that needs to be optimized. That is the pickup experience itself. Like QSRs that drive 70% of sales through the drive-thru, BOPIS pickup presents opportunities to reinforce the brand message, upsell, collect data and build loyalty. I foresee canopied drive-up lanes with signs that will recognize and greet customers by sensing their mobile device or reading their license plates, estimate wait times, and offer add-ons.
A couple of discussion points here. First, people seem to confuse facial recognition with Anonymous Video Analytics (AVA). The former recognizes and identifies people, the latter recognizes gender, age range, dwell time, etc. without saving images. AVA's primary value has proven to be gathering good analytics and measurements which help justify ad rates. Whether ads triggered by real time AVA insights perform better or not is still a matter of debate, and generally not the reason cameras are considered today.
Second, the LCD screens used by Cooler Screens obscure the view of what is in the cooler, especially when an ad is running instead of the planogram images. Translucent LCD technology allows ads to run while still providing a view of what lies within.
While the direct threat is years off, the need to evolve is upon the c-store operators today. Electric cars and carpooling will depress gasoline demand over time. So it is now time to create strategies that leverage location and convenience and start increasing the percentage of revenues that are driven inside, as opposed to outside. I collected some thoughts here.