Is BOPIS emerging as the future of Retail?

Is BOPIS emerging as the future of Retail_

3 min read

BOPIS (Buying online and picking up in-store) is becoming a new trend. Brick-and-mortar stores that also offer e-commerce or m-commerce are actively promoting BOPIS, which works to best of the combination of online cum brick-and-mortar existence. BOPIS also gives the unique advantage of providing the customer the choice of his channel and thus customer feels empowered when he chooses BOPIS. Older generation customers feel the benefit of the combination of traditional and digital experience, something that soaks into their acceptance easily

BOPIS calls for a real-time stock update and online visibility of stocks to customers across a retail enterprise and swift movement of stock replenishment in an automated manner. Most legacy retail ERP systems have end-of-day batch run to update stock balances and are not suitable for BOPIS enablement. Customers demand service, would like to shop online, and desire to pick-up in the next two hours. Retailers would not be able to service customers confidently if their stock update is not in real-time and cannot guarantee stock delivery to a customer due to poor visibility of stock at store or warehouse at any moment. Further, legacy retail ERP do not practice stock reservation for ordered but undelivered. Stock reservation is one of the fundamental business processes for omnichannel readiness for a retailer. Fundamentally, BOPIS to be successful, online stock visibility is a must, as echoed by Gartner in Retail CIO new year resolutions, 2020.

COVI-19 pandemic initially put the logistics and supply chain in disarray for two reasons; firstly, they were all diverted to serve emergency medical supplies; and secondly, they were unable to operate at one hundred percent efficiency due to lockdown conditions. Hence, customers opted for BOPIS as an alternate strategy. Further, customers find BOPIS as an effective way to shop due to the saving of shipping costs. Customers found park-in or curbside pick-up as a natural and time-saving option while giving them the comfort of contactless payment options. Since safety also played a predominant role as to how customers shop, BOPIS became one of the apparent choices for items that customers required immediately for consumption or use.

Customers can be given the best experience in BOPIS by giving them clear instructions about their parking lot at park-in or curbside slots and can gain a no-wait experience which otherwise they experience by standing in the line at brick-mortar. BOPIS experience so far had proven that more than 75% of BOPIS customers also shopped more items when they came for pick-up, thus providing an opportunity for cross-selling and up-sell.

While designing Retail ViVA, we provided BOPIS right from the beginning of its launch and giving flexibility to the customer to pick up from any store of her/his choice, truly to omnichannel customer experience. Retail ViVA Mobile APP offers customers the choice of a store for pick-up in person at the time of check-out.

Technology is making a difference and is driving the future of customer engagement and experience in the retail world. Retailers who are adopting omnichannel solutions will be far ahead of the competition, and all early adopters will reap the advantage of pandemic and post-pandemic business growth. E-commerce is here to stay, so is Brick-and-mortar, so is BOPIS as well. BOPIS may well turn out to be the new normal of retail, soon graduate to the normal-normal of retail and thus be the future of retail. Retailers will innovate with BOPIS to make a customer do the impulsive shopping at park-in or curbside through the adoption of augmented reality techniques to create a physical walk-through of stores towards business growth. BOPIS is certainly turning out to be the smart choice of retailers as well as customers and thus a win-win for both.

Written by
(Ragu)nathan Kannan

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