Is BOPIS best when it’s done outside the store?

Discussion
Rendering: WD Partners
Sep 28, 2018

WayfinD Staff

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.

A recent survey from WD Partners shows that consumers don’t want to go into a store for BOPIS and widely prefer pick-up options outside of the store.

The 1,500 respondents were asked about their views on eight different BOPIS concepts. Those found most appealing and scoring the highest in purchase intent do not require consumers to go inside the store.

The number one tested concept was a drive-thru experience, receiving 57 percent purchase intent score with all respondents (based on the top two boxes) and over indexed with digital natives at 65 percent purchase intent. (Purchase intent score means that XX percent of respondents are more likely to buy from a retailer that offered XX concept. For example, 57 percent of respondents are more likely to buy from a retailer with a drive-thru BOPIS experience.)

The incredibly close second-ranked concept was a combined retailer pick-up “center,” such as a “locker” system, to retrieve items you ordered from multiple retailers all in one convenient location in the parking lot. This concept received a 56 percent purchase intent score with all respondents and was even more favorable with digital natives at 74 percent purchase intent.

The third-ranking concept is one you see retailers (especially grocery stores) rolling out today — curbside pick-up (where items are brought to you). This concept had a 49 percent overall purchase intent score and ranked pretty evenly among digital natives (50 percent) and digital immigrants (47 percent), making it a sure bet for retailers.

In all instances, the consumer is seeking the ultimate in convenience — give me what I bought while I wait or stay in the comfort of my car, saving me time, energy and added hassle. All of these solutions allow for simple use of technology (i.e., mobile ordering, notification via an app or on-site digital screen once I arrive) to purchase or communicate with the retailer. While they might not be viewed as “new” concepts to BOPIS, they haven’t been widely adopted or done right even though they are the top three BOPIS solutions from our study.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What’s holding back retailers from offering more BOPIS options outside the store? How do you rate the pros and cons of encouraging shoppers to pick-up orders inside the store versus outside?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"This entire issue ties back to the question 'why don’t retailers have a Chief Customer Officer whose purpose is to give the shopper what he/she desires?'"
"I think the retailer has to look at the motivation of the buyer; they aren’t looking to shop. They want to acquire and move on. Make it easy for them."
"Here is the bottom line: As retailers figure out better ways to serve and attract customers, they will do them. "

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24 Comments on "Is BOPIS best when it’s done outside the store?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

The findings are not surprising. For some shoppers, BOPIS is a way to avoid checkout lines and curbside/outdoor lockers eliminates this. However, outside pick-up is simply not an option for all retailers — think mall-based stores, for example. The other reality is that many retailers do not have extra staff to manage their BOPIS transactions, so the same store personnel who are trying to serve customers are also being required to process BOPIS pick-ups. For retailers, in-store pick-ups provide an opportunity to add on to the sale. The downside of outside/locker pick-up is that there’s no opportunity for an additional sale.

Art Suriano
BrainTrust
The simple message here is, “Give’em what they want.” You can’t ignore customer demands and still be successful, however, be smart and think of ways to entice those who are BOPIS customers to come into the store when offering outside pick up of merchandise. Look at a comparison with the drive-thrus for fast food restaurants. So many customers use them and QSRs have learned how to offer suggested selling with packaged meals or merely having the associate ask one or two questions making some quick suggestions. When we allow customers to pick up at the curb or in a drive-thru environment, retailers can and should incorporate the same type of thinking with “come-in to the store” suggestions or if nothing more offer a buying opportunity for now or in the near future for both in-store and online. Giving customers what they want is key to success but finding ways to add additional sales is equally important for growth. Retailers just need to think, be creative and continue to try new programs until finding what is… Read more »
Charles Dimov
BrainTrust
First, great to see more research on BOPIS. Our finding with the OrderDynamics Omni-1000 research also reflects that less than one-third of North American/U.S. retailers offer BOPIS/omnichannel services. There are various reasons for the hold-back. It could be the complexity of most systems (first you deploy the platform, then you architect a solution, then you have to hire coders to actually code your systems…). Some have been put off by the all-encompassing Unified Commerce pitch suggesting a full rip and replace of all their tech — and 24-month deployment cycles. As an alternative, retailers need to think about smaller deployments with systems that are designed to give you BOPIS but that tie into what you already have. For retailers, you want consumers to come into your store to do the pickup. It capitalizes on the impulse buy. Seven studies estimated that 40% percent to 58 percent of customers will buy more goods when they come in for a pickup. On the other hand, even goods collected at a pickup point result in further in-store shopping.… Read more »
Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

It’s pretty obvious that retailers want to bring customers into the store so that they might buy something else, and so the retailer doesn’t have to “waste” the labor taking the orders elsewhere.

It’s a fruitless wish, however. As said below, give the people what they want, or they’ll just go elsewhere.

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

Seems like bringing customers into the store is a common thread — but I’m with Paula on this one. Maybe that’s exactly what the customer doesn’t want. QSRs have been running drive-throughs without forcing the customer into the store for decades. It really does depend on what you’re selling and how you’re selling it. This also forces retailers to put their “window shopping” into their apps, websites, and order platforms instead — which might be just as powerful.

Chris Petersen, PhD.
BrainTrust

Great question! I would love to hear from retailers on this one. Depending on location, there could be space limitations or zoning restrictions preventing outdoor BOPIS. The stark reality is that BOPIS of any kind entails more cost and infrastructure. Some might argue that if customers don’t come inside you lose a chance for a second sale. Yet despite all these potential reasons for excluding outdoor BOPIS, no retailer can afford to miss opportunities to engage customers at any level. The data presented in this article would suggest that outside options are another way to engage and maintain relationships. What I fail to understand is why more retailers don’t test BOPIS in several forms.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Consumers want speed and convenience so a solution with as little friction as possible is often the most desirable. However this can be at odds with what retailers want — which is to drive traffic into stores and to try and get people to buy other products. Ultimately, I think retailers will need to bow to what consumers want.

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

I also think we need to better define “frictionless.” For example, people describe Amazon Go as “frictionless.” To me, a frictionless grocery experience is someone putting the groceries I select ONTO the checkout belt, and then INTO my bags. I always talk about Roche Bros. grocery in MA as an example of that (of course, I don’t know if they still do it). That’s what I consider frictionless, or having the stuff brought to my door.

The idea that it’s frictionless for me to completely do the cashier’s job and then deal with potential mis-reads, etc. is silly. For some it may work, for me it holds the potential for a LOT of friction.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Totally agree, Paula! I think “frictionless” has to be defined in terms of what it means to each consumer!

Jeff Sward
Guest

If the customer finds the “experience” of visiting the store worthwhile, they’ll go inside. If the retailer is smart about refreshing that experience the customer will have an ongoing reason to go inside.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust
The biggest inhibitor for retailers to offer BOPIS options outside the store (drive-thru or lockers) is the capital investment to build or add the physical structure to their stores. In addition to the added cost, some locations may not be able to physically accommodate these options. There are obvious pros and cons to these options: the pro is that it gives customer ultimate options for convenience and the con is that stores lose out on impulse purchases that could result from customer entering the store. Convenience stores are wrestling with this issue today with pay-at-the-pump…how do you get them to come back inside? The challenge is almost everyone is time starved with too many tasks and so little time so I believe drive-thru will be the winning model. Retailers need to listen to their customers and the challenge is that every customer has different fulfillment preferences – and those preferences even change based on the product they ordered. For example, for large bulky items, they would more often prefer external store access to avoid carrying… Read more »
Anne Howe
BrainTrust

This entire issue ties back to the question “why don’t retailers have a Chief Customer Officer whose purpose is to give the shopper what he/she desires?”
The lack of true customer focus mystifies me.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

When asked in this survey about what they want in a BOPIS experience, and shown choices that did not require them to enter a store, of course people chose that option. Convenience is why people wait in a Starbucks line 10 cars deep instead of going inside where there is no line.

Give ‘em what they want, when they want it, the way that they want it, right? Easy for some, difficult for others. Here’s where retailers need to find ways to sweeten the in-store experience. Shoppers can’t be dazzled by impulse items when they refuse to come inside the store.

Cate Trotter
BrainTrust
This is hardly surprising. Surely the worst BOPIS option is the one where you join the regular checkout queue to collect your item which is either held behind the room or in the back (so the staff then have to trot off to get it) — you haven’t benefited much in terms of time, effort or convenience compared to just going to the store, picking and item, queuing and paying. Of course customers prefer the simplest, most convenient option for them which for many means not having to get out of their car and go into the store. It’s why fast food restaurants created drive-thrus. The con for retailers is that they’re not getting in-store footfall, which they will hope will lead to other impulse purchases. Plus, they have to fund and staff the outside store options as needed. I think retailers have to think carefully about whether outside pick-up options work for their business because demand will only grow. Walmart’s current trials suggest it might work well in grocery where stores typically have large… Read more »
Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

In a perfect world, from the retailer’s perspective pick up inside the store has the capability of generating additional and in some cases high margin revenue. Research has shown that online shopping when combined with in-store shopping generates a higher basket than either option considered separately. If you can get customers into the store with an empty shopping cart (often a surrogate of spending), they tend to pick up the higher margin perimeter and impulse items.

Having said this, the definition of shopping quality is benefits received divided by burdens endured. If drive-thru and other more out of the store convenient options are offered, the burdens endured in BOPIS shopping may be significantly reduced. Follow the customer!

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

One of the factors talked about but I don’t see measured very often is the additional purchases made by customer in the retail location that utilize a BOPIS methodology that requires the customer to come into the store. If the results indicate additional purchases it would support for that retailer that the cost associated with having outside pickup may not worth it (at least at this time).

Another factor that general discussions of the topic ignore is that the value of outside pickup will vary by retail format. All that being said, outside pickup will continue to grow if not based on economics then on customer preference and competitive pressures.

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust

These concepts always mystify me. We need to understand that the success of all these concepts are dictated by shopper expectations. We did a project for a DIY retailer that introduced BOPIS lockers inside the store. As a test, we ordered several products online from the parking lot. It took more than 90 minutes to fill the order and two of the items were out of stock. We seem to always get back to the supply chain challenge. Also, living in Minneapolis, I suspect shoppers here wouldn’t value having to travel out in -20 degree weather fumbling to pick up an online order!

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

Offering outside pickup would make it BOPOS (Buy Online, Pickup OUTSIDE Store). Just pointing that out. Seriously, this is all about customer convenience. The goal is to save the customer time. If the store has the outside space, which is a big part of the issue, then outside pickup may be an option. The central pickup/locker system is popular. The goal is to give the customer the best and most convenient experience possible.

Ray Riley
BrainTrust

In a time poor society, outside the store definitely makes sense for convenience. The opportunities to upsell/cross-sell are limited, but I think the retailer has to look at the motivation of the buyer; they aren’t looking to shop. They want to acquire and move on. Make it easy for them.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust
Here is the bottom line: As retailers figure out better ways to serve and attract customers, they will do them. When customers respond positively to these strategies, it basically forces other retailers to come to that expected service. When we make it easier for the customer, they build expectations; anything less is disappointment. BOPIS and BOPOS are services that make it easier for many. And making it easier and less of a consumer task, makes deleting the services difficult and perhaps dangerous. Someone brought up “pay at the pump” convenience stores. They fight to get customers into the store — they even have television monitors talking to you about in-store specials while you’re pumping. There should never be a time anyone picks up their order through BOPIS or BOPOS that they are not given a compelling message to come in the store. Last thought: with malls struggling, and having space available, do you think it’s long before they have a large space dedicated to get customers to pick up all participating stores’ orders at a… Read more »
Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

This is all about logistics and managing expense. Of course, customers would rather just drive by a big box outside and have their stuff dumped in the trunk. However, long-term viability has to take into account the last mile handling tasks and their associated costs. The retailers that optimize those the best first, will win.

gordon arnold
Guest

I am keenly aware of the value of time for today’s generations that are struggling for a better life. Retailers that understand these needs and make themselves an ally of those in need will “earn” their business. It is not easy staying in the game of 21st century retail. Growth in this age depends on us staying ahead of the game. To do this we must ask ourselves how well we know the consumer and where improvements for our markets can be implemented successfully.

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust
Customers are thinking that they need a box of cereal, not actively seeking new ways to pick it up (unless they’re like many of us on this thread). BOPIS is a mode of buying convenience that’s learned through doing, and hence testing is a prerequisite — to change habit, familiarity, and use. Retailers also don’t know their customers preferences when it comes to BOPIS (in or out) because it’s new (relatively) — for them and the customer. Because there are no standards in the market for BOPIS, there are no templates that retailers offering it can use, and it becomes very nuanced based on the specific retailer, its product offering, and its market. Retailers testing the concepts will have a jump on their immediate competition, but it still might not resonate for a different part of retail. Add cost and that’s a recipe for holding back. Making it easy for consumers to select, buy, receive, and use their box of cereal throughout the entire customer journey is the key — both in terms of market… Read more »
Peter Charness
BrainTrust

Clearly the retailer would prefer to have the shopper go into the store. The shopper probably would be fine with that if the parking was easy, and the product being picked up was light (not five bags of groceries) and the experience in-store was quick. On the other hand for the retailer it’s more cost efficient to hand off the package directly to the customer, inside/outside/wherever, than to hand it off to UPS for that last-mile delivery.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"This entire issue ties back to the question 'why don’t retailers have a Chief Customer Officer whose purpose is to give the shopper what he/she desires?'"
"I think the retailer has to look at the motivation of the buyer; they aren’t looking to shop. They want to acquire and move on. Make it easy for them."
"Here is the bottom line: As retailers figure out better ways to serve and attract customers, they will do them. "

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