Can BOPIS keep up with its own success?
Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), also known as click & collect, appeared to have reached a tipping point this past holiday season with more consumers taking advantage of the options offered by retailers. With greater demand there have also been challenges for retailers, who have had to engage in a balancing act with both inventory and labor.
Among the signals that BOPIS has gained acceptance:
- Adobe reported BOPIS for U.S retail orders grew 50 percent over the holiday;
- Target reported store pickup plus drive-up grew more than 60 percent over the November/December period, accounting for a quarter of its digital sales in those two months;
- Forty-eight percent of online orders at Home Depot in 2018 used BOPIS, according to Adweek. Twenty percent of those picking up purchased more after arrival;
- In early January, Walmart launched its biggest — and first-ever cross-platform — national marketing campaign for Walmart Grocery Pickup.
The National Retail Federation’s latest quarterly “Consumer View” report further found that 70 percent of consumers who are aware of BOPIS have tried it, with the top reason being to avoid shipping costs. Picking up at the cash register was by far the most frequent practice, done by 83 percent of those who tried BOPIS. Twenty-seven percent tried curbside pickup, 19 percent tried having merchandise delivered to the trunk of their car, and 16 percent retrieved purchases from a locker. All BOPIS users were open to those alternatives.
However, a survey by HRC Retail Advisory of 30 retail executives found 66 percent indicating that inventory inaccuracies made their BOPIS service offerings inconsistent.
At an NRF Big Show session showcasing a locker solution for BOPIS, Alex Price, global VP at JDA Software, said, “Retailers need real-time visibility into their inventory and to be flexible enough to move it around.”
Scott Fenwick, director of product strategy at Manhattan Associates, told Retail Dive that retailers struggling with BOPIS either didn’t plan fully or underestimated the costs, including extra labor. Some warehouse fulfillment tools, such as “pick-path optimization,” are being moved into the store to gain efficiencies.
Said Mr. Fenwick, “If they’re not putting in the right effective tools, then the customer is not going to have a good experience when they show up to pick up that merchandise.”
- Holiday Recap 2018 – Adobe
- Target Reports November/December Sales, Maintains Full-Year Sales and EPS Guidance – Target
- BOPIS, Retail’s Latest Acronym, Makes the Case for Delayed Gratification – Adweek
- NRF study says more online shoppers want free shipping – National Retail Federation
- Latest OrderDynamics Global Research Finds Only 37.6% of Retailers Offer Click & Collect – OrderDynamics
- Self-Serve, Automated In-Store Order Pick-Up Sees Clear Tipping Point at #NRF2019 – Apex Supply Chain Technologies/Business Wire
- NRF 2019: Six steps for navigating BOPIS with ease in 2019 – Retail Dive
- The death of ‘click and collect’ food shopping is unavoidable – The Globe And Mail
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see optimizing inventory, labor or some other aspect as the main challenge to BOPIS execution? Will BOPIS continue to make significant gains over the next few years?