A new survey finds retailers that are offering buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) services are still struggling to combat rising rates and capacity constraints, along with a new set of operational and logistics demands.

The study from LaserShip found that, in response to those pandemic pressures, 87 percent of retailers have implemented BOPIS and in-store pickup, but the strategy has triggered new concerns, including:

  • Meeting consumer expectations of in-store stock availability, 57 percent;
  • Strained store capacity, 56 percent; 
  • Increased operational and staff challenges, 54 percent.

Additional and similar pressures are being felt by the 85 percent of respondents using ship-from-store.

“In order to implement BOPIS successfully, retailers will need to make investments in inventory management systems to get real-time stocking updates and merge online and in-store inventory tracking,” wrote LaserShip in the study. “Retailers must also communicate clearly with customers across multiple channels on how to best use click and collect in stores to ensure an efficient, seamless pickup experience, while minimizing wait times.”

BOPIS use, including car pickup and lockers, accelerated as consumers and retailers sought out contactless solutions during the pandemic. A survey taken in October from Package Concierge found 64 percent of U.S. shoppers using BOPIS, a nearly 23 percent increase in six months, with 20 percent using it frequently.

Retailers have raved about BOPIS’s ability to eliminate shipping expenses and offer shopper convenience.

A study that came out earlier this year from researchers at Texas A&M and Clemson based on pre-pandemic transaction data found BOPIS boosts in-store traffic as users regularly make unplanned in-store purchases. BOPIS was also found to drive sales of higher-priced items in-store that shoppers are reluctant to purchase online and helps optimize returns.

In the Harvard Business Review, Michael Ketzenberg, a professor of the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, wrote that, given the advantages, retailers should heavily market BOPIS, highlighting the benefits of avoiding delivery fees, instant gratification and in-stock guarantees.

“Because BOPIS is more profitable than other omnichannel services, it gives retailers the opportunity to offer a small discount or other incentives to encourage customers to opt for the BOPIS option, creating a win-win for both the customer and the business,” he said.


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