In 2020, major brands such as Costco and Kroger adopted eCommerce trends including curbside pickup, same-day home delivery, and buying online and picking up in-store (BOPIS) for the first time. Today, 83% of grocery stores are exploiting the potential of the fact that over four-fifths of shoppers aim to use BOPIS more often.
The BOPIS retail strategy was designed to overcome large delivery fees by offering customers to shop online and collect their ordered items in the physical store. For many retailers, this was a temporary solution due to the high costs of delivery, as so far, in-store sales are still a large share of their revenue. However, click and collect or BOPIS is predicted to jump up 21% in sales to over US $100 billion in 2022. Further, these new consumer habits are here to stay: 50% of shoppers choose BOPIS for non-covid related reasons, the top four include avoiding shipping fees and interaction with people, reducing browsing time, and waiting time at the checkout.
Let’s look at how retailers can use BOPIS to become more profitable and retain loyal customers.
What are the challenges for supermarkets?
The modern customer focuses on product availability, low prices, and promotions. With two-thirds of in-store shoppers and 51% of online customers experiencing products being out of stock, keeping the digital inventory accurate has become a large challenge for supermarkets.
BOPIS customer satisfaction depends on product availability and quality, along with additional factors like order accuracy, and collection wait times. As a result, retailers are concerned with inventory management (57%), strained store capacity (56%), and operational challenges (54%).
One of the biggest operational challenges is tight schedules. Often, 5-15 minute collection slots must be managed during peak periods such as weekends, after office hours, and lunch breaks. This leaves a small window for teams to get items packed and ready for their customers. Additional pressure is put on staff to ensure products are available and shelves are restocked ahead of time to optimize collection processes.
How to overcome BOPIS challenges
Making your consumers happy is the key to developing your business. With shoppers purchasing products online for packers to discover that in-store customers have already purchased the last on the shelf , it’s hardly surprising that many are upset.
Out-of-stock items can be minimized with a smart multi-pick process whereby packers can collect several orders in one go, and record the amount of inventory remaining along the way. This will support accurate inventory data and increase efficiency. An inventory management system that integrates with specialized equipment or even on employee mobile apps would enable inventory updates in real-time so that low-stock items can be removed from the eCommerce system to ensure customers only select items that are available. Consistent experience for customers is the key.
To streamline the process further, staff would benefit from a system that provides location codes per item which feed into an electronic picklist. Knowing where each item is stored will create a more efficient turnaround. The time saved walking up and down aisles searching for products gives back time to in-store shoppers who can browse at their leisure with reduced congestion.
When it comes to notifying the shoppers, push notifications sent by packers will help remind customers when to collect their orders, and ensure they commit to their selected time slot. This doesn’t have to break the bank either, steer clear of purchasing expensive hardware by integrating your BOPIS software with mobile apps or off-the-shelf technology.
What to consider when implementing BOPIS
In order to successfully implement the BOPIS retail strategy in your business, there are certain aspects that must be taken into consideration.
First, make sure your store has the necessary infrastructure in place to support it, such as adequate storage space and staff to handle pickups. This involves hiring additional staff or training your current employees to handle BOPIS pickups.
Second, make sure your website is optimized for BOPIS shoppers. This means ensuring that your checkout process is easy and convenient and that your inventory is up-to-date and accurately reflects what’s available in store.
Last, promote your BOPIS service to customers and let them know that they can save on delivery fees by picking up their orders in the store. In reality, BOPIS can be cheaper for customers if they take advantage of in-store discounts or being offered digital coupons and avoid paying delivery fees. Coupons have long been a great way to get customers to buy more, but these days, most people prefer digital coupons instead. Customers can just display their mobile devices at the checkout counter to redeem digital coupons.
After all, incentivizing customers to opt for pickup over delivery will meet consumer desires for lower prices and promotions while reducing delivery fees for both you and the shopper. Online subscription programs that offer free unlimited pickup, or benefits based on transaction size and frequency, would provide you with more of that magic ingredient (customer data) at the same time, keeping your customers loyal to you.
Find out more about how you can support your customer retention and increase sales with Local Express End-to-end eCommerce platform for food retailers.