As online shopping spiked in 2020, fulfillment methods like curbside pickup and buy online pick-up in-store (BOPIS) grew in popularity. As a result, retailers and eCommerce brands all over the world chose to scale up these fulfillment models to better serve their customers.
Now, nearly a year later (and after a lot of trial and error), we have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. In this post, we’ve collected our top 5 tips for BOPIS program execution in 2021. Check them out below.
Design a Clear Pick-up Process
Many of your customers choose BOPIS because they don’t have time for a standard shopping trip. They want to show up, collect their items, and leave.
That means you can’t afford to have a complicated or confusing pick-up process. To cater to your customers’ desire for convenience, everything needs to be crystal clear. Your customers need to know when to show up to pick up their order. They need to know where to go and who to talk to once they step foot in your stores. And any technology required must be simple to use.
What’s the best way to create a clear buy online pick-up in-store process? Here are a few suggestions:
- Add signage and floor decals to your stores to guide customers to the pick-up location
- Send instructions to customers via SMS or push notification when their order is ready for pickup
- Place step-by-step guidelines for use on your automated systems
- Encourage employees to guide and help customers when needed
Offer Mobile-Friendly Ordering
With retail mobile commerce expected to reach $338B in 2021, it should come as no surprise that customers expect the BOPIS shopping experience to be as mobile-friendly as possible. If they’re using an app, the interface must be intuitive and fast. And if they’re using your website, the desktop version must scale down to provide a great user experience.
Luckily, since “mobile-friendly” has also become ubiquitous in the design and development community, making your eCommerce website compatible with mobile devices and creating mobile apps is a lot easier than you might think.
Keep All Inventory Visible
One of the obvious difficulties with BOPIS is inventory management. The reason is: you have to balance foot traffic shopping with online orders in real-time. Otherwise, you can wind up with backorders and out-of-stock scenarios, which lead to lost sales and decreased customer retention.
However, there are two strategies you can adopt to make sure the needs of all shoppers are met. In the first place, you can track your inventory levels using an omnichannel order management system. And in the second place, you can leverage predictive analytics to forecast future product demand.
Using these strategies, you not only have a better idea of what your current needs are, but you can also make smarter decisions about the next round of inventory you’ll use to stock your shelves.
Shorten Order Cycle Time
Whether your customers want a new shirt for a job interview, forgot an anniversary gift, or need to replace a child’s beloved toy ASAP, time is of the essence. They don’t have the luxury to wait multiple days for their order to arrive.
Fortunately, many large retailers have found a solution: make it possible for customers to pick up their orders within a few hours. With this faster system, shoppers can make those last-minute purchases with minimal stress and pop by to pick them up as soon as they have a few minutes. And since retailers can get customer orders out the door quickly, they can house more click-and-collect purchases without expanding their storage spaces. It’s a win-win.
Create a Simple Return Process
Customers don’t always shop at the same location. Usually, they just select the store that’s most convenient for them. Sometimes that means they go to the one closest to their office. Other times, it means popping into the store they drive by on the way to visit a friend. It may even be a location they shop at while on a business trip or vacation.
Regardless, they can’t afford to be locked into returning products to a specific store. They need flexibility. By allowing customers to return click-and-collect products to any location or ship it back to your fulfillment centers directly, you can build goodwill for your BOPIS service and strengthen overall customer loyalty.
While many retail and eCommerce businesses are still trying to find their footing with buy online pick-up in-store, there are a lot of lessons we can learn from the past year. By designing a clear pick-up process, shortening your order cycle time, offering a mobile-friendly experience, creating a simple returns process, and keeping a pulse on inventory across your organization, your business will be in good shape this year.