We’re all familiar with traditional retail shopping in which you visit a physical store to buy and pick up whatever goods you need. We’re also familiar with e-commerce, in which you order online and wait for those items to arrive at your door.
There’s a new entrant in the retail world, one that combines aspects of both brick-and-mortar shopping and e-commerce. What is it? And why should you care?
BOPIS is an acronym for “by online, pick up in store” — and it’s exactly that.
- You place an order online (or through a mobile app).
- When your item is ready, you go to the store to pick it up.
Why would customers go through the hassle of visiting stores in person when they can sit back, relax, and have items delivered to them? And why would you (as a retailer) voluntarily take on the extra costs associated with fulfilling BOPIS orders?
After all, every time a customer uses this option:
- You must retrieve and hold the item (assuming it’s in stock). If it’s not, you have to place an order with the closest warehouse.
- You then have to notify a customer of a waiting order before making pickup arrangements, including where and when.
All of this seems unnecessary (and expensive), but it turns out that BOPIS offers benefits for both buyer and seller.
How Customers Benefit From BOPIS
According to a 2018 survey by eMarketer:
- 50% of customer respondents cited “high fees” as a leading cause of online checkout abandonment.
- 40% reported abandoning a purchase after discovering delivery would require two or more days.
Stats such as these don’t really concern the Amazons of the world. Amazon has the resources to offer free shipping and expedited delivery to all of its users.
Unfortunately, smaller retailers don’t always have that luxury. However, they can use BOPIS to remove two of the biggest hurdles facing online customers — expensive deliveries and long waits.
The user-side benefits don’t stop there:
- Being home to intercept packages isn’t always possible. If delivery companies leave parcels on the stoop, those items could be stolen by porch pirates. With BOPIS, users can choose when and where to pick up their items.
- Many customers prefer handling items before fully committing to a purchase. This is impossible when ordering exclusively online; the “order online, pick up in store” model introduces a more tactile experience to the equation.
Benefits such as these explain why this retail trend is on the rise, with BOPIS sales increasing 53% in 2017 and 61% in 2018. Not surprisingly, the biggest spikes tend to be during the holiday shopping season when customers do everything possible to avoid large crowds. In fact, an estimated 40% of customers “buy online, pick up in store” during the holiday rush.
How does all of this help your business?
How Retailers Benefit From BOPIS
As a small business owner, “order online, pick up in store” offers several important advantages:
- You benefit from more foot traffic, and thus, more sales. A BOPIS customer might order widget X online, but in store will likely add items to his/her shopping cart.
- You save on shipping costs. Instead of using expensive courier services to deliver local packages, your customers do most of the heavy lifting. This allows you to keep a larger percentage of every “online” sale.
- If you’re strictly a brick-and-mortar merchant, BOPIS creates a new channel through which to sell your products. Inventory is available on-site, but it’s viewable and buyable “online.”
Done correctly, BOPIS can help you generate enough extra sales and savings to fully cover the additional expenses incurred by offering “order online, pick up in store” to your customers.
The question is: How do you set up BOPIS correctly?
Getting Started With BOPIS
In order to offer “order online, pick up in store” to your customers, you must have at least one physical location in the market(s) you serve. Ideally, it should be an actual store, but many retailers use local warehouses or depots when this isn’t possible.
You also need highly integrated inventory management since you’re not simply stocking shelves at night when the store is empty. With BOPIS, you must know the who, what, and where of every package — in real time.
This integration must also factor in payments and data security since you need a way to determine if:
- Payment has been made on the item(s) you’re about to hand over
- The customer doing the pickup is authorized to do so
Verifying these steps isn’t always easy given that BOPIS orders are card-not-present transactions that originate online, usually with no “home” address attached to the order. This means anyone can “buy online” or “pick up in store” — even criminals using stolen credit cards. In fact, BOPIS fraud is growing faster than BOPIS itself, with the number of reported instances increasing by as much as 250% in a single year.
This makes payment security all the more important.
Our Approach to Secure BOPIS Payments
At BluePay, we make data security a priority — whether your customers buy in person, online, or via BOPIS. We keep your payments safe by leveraging the latest in fraud prevention technology, including:
If you’d like to learn how our suite of PCI-compliant payment solutions can help prevent payment fraud from negatively impacting your business, schedule a free consultation with our merchant services team today.