BOPIS: A Sales-Driving Omnichannel Retail Strategy

With an assortment of digital avenues now open to them, working consumers are exercising the option to shop online, but can face issues over picking up their purchases during office hours. Click and Collect services are enabling shoppers to pick up items at their own convenience, and boosting retail sales as a result. Here's how.

How Click and Collect Works

Click and Collect is an omnichannel retail strategy that enables consumers to buy goods online, then pick them up in-store or at a designated collection center. It's also known as BOPUS (Buy Online, Pick Up in Store), or BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In Store).

There are three principal methods that retailers are using to implement Click and Collect policies:

  1. The company sets up a dedicated collection center or nominates a trusted third-party location, where consumers can go to pick up their goods.
  2. The retailer (perhaps in association with a number of other organizations) sets up a central collection hub, where consumers can come to collect their purchased items.
  3. Customers specify to the retailer which of their brand's stores they would like to go to, in order to collect their merchandise.

Maximizing On Convenience

Customer convenience is the main driving force behind any Click and Collect initiative, and retailers can maximize on this in a number of ways, while simultaneously enhancing the customer experience and fostering loyalty to their brand.

For example, you can configure email communications to automatically post messages to consumers confirming their orders once a purchase has been made. Time-stamped messages charting the journey of the merchandise toward the collection center are another option. You can also send alerts to inform a customer when their pickup is ready, and reminders if they fail to appear at the collection hub at the scheduled time.

Pickup points should also be sited with the customer in mind. In-store, this ideally means near the entrance.

The Benefits of this Approach

The underlying principle of Click and Collect is that consumers can buy online and pick up their purchases at an offline physical location. For in-store collection points, this has the advantage of bringing digital shoppers into your brick-and-mortar store, where they can see and experience your range of other goods and make additional purchases.

In this way, Click and Collect becomes a direct driver of sales. A 2019 study of the retail sector conducted in the UK by Barclaycard Payment Solutions suggests that 34% of retailers see in-store revenues go up once they have invested in a buy online pick up in store service. Eighty-seven percent of organizations say Click and Collect is their fastest-growing delivery option, with almost seven in ten shoppers (68%) now choosing to pick up online orders in-store.

The survey reveals that 85% of consumers say they buy additional items in-store when using a Click and Collect service, while more than three-quarters of retailers (77%) report reduced return volumes, which ultimately saves them the cost of processing refunds and restocking goods.

Summing up, Kirsty Morris, Director, Barclaycard Payment Solutions, says: "Not only does Click & Collect offer merchants the opportunity to increase sales, our research shows it can improve the overall customer experience as a complement to online shopping, while reducing return volumes too."

For consumers, Click and Collect offers an alternative to having to pay for shipment and delivery. Same-day fulfillment at many centers satisfies their expectations for speed and builds confidence and loyalty in brands that make this possible. Completing a purchase in-store also allows customers to inspect the products they're buying and get a feel for them before committing to payment.

The speed and convenience of Click and Collect also serve retailers during periods of peak demand, such as during the holidays. Enabling consumers to buy online then pick up in store helps ease store congestion while accelerating the flow of transactions. And it allows last-minute shoppers to fulfill their gift-buying or other commitments in the quickest and most convenient way.

Some Challenges to Meet

To date, Click and Collect has been more of a European phenomenon, especially widespread in France and the UK. Even so, Barclaycard reckons that, despite consumer demand, less than 17% of retailers have started offering third-party collection services allowing shoppers to pick up purchases from other locations, such as local grocery stores or lockers.

US retailers have been slower to take up the option, with larger players like Target and Walmart better placed to shoulder the resource burden of equipping collection centers and / or acquiring the necessary logistical and ancillary services.

Operationally, consumers are looking for retailers to form strategic partnerships that will make Click and Collect easier and more convenient. And by coming together to offer such services, more retailers will be able to enjoy the mutual benefits that partnerships provide, such as the potential to increase sales and reduce the volume of refunds and returns.

Using Click and Collect to Boost Sales

There's clear evidence that customers who use Click and Collect end up making additional purchases while they are picking up their items. Using data gathered online as the basis for personalized recommendations in-store is one way of capitalizing on this fact. This can be implemented in a number of ways, including real-time printout or displays of recommendations, or making individual customer preferences available to store assistants.

In a volatile retail market where the lines between physical and virtual space are continually blurring, investing in Click and Collect initiatives and partnerships should be part of a long-term strategy for retailers to encourage consumers to come into stores.

Click and Collect is set to be a hot topic at Future Stores West 2020, taking place in June at The Sheraton, Seattle.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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