August 26, 2016 | Eric Feinberg

How retailers can nail the ‘Buy Online, Pickup In-Store’ experience


For a variety of brick-and-mortar retail companies, there’s an expected practice of allowing customers to purchase products online that they later pick up at a nearby physical store. Nearly one-third of the retail chains ranked in the Top 500 Guide now offer customers the option to Buy Online and Pickup In-Store (BOPIS), according to Internet Retailer.

Some of the benefits to customers include saving on shipping costs and getting their stuff sooner, but BOPIS requires careful coordination and pretty tight operational efficiency to work well.

Is it worth it for retailers to maintain or add a BOPIS capability?

ForeSee has studied tens of thousands of retail customers over the last 11 years. As such, we noticed a slight uptick in customers’ preference for BOPIS from 2014 to 2015. Though it still trails significantly behind traditional web ordering and delivery, it now lags only slightly behind “researching online and buying in the store.”

In general, what is your preferred way to shop for products from this retailer?  2014  2015
Research and buy online, have product delivered 55% 48%
Research online, buy in store 21% 17%
Research and buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) 10% 13%
Research and buy in store 6% 7%
Research in store, buy online 3% 3%
None of these 0% 12%

Retailers can start with the group of people who research online but go to the store to buy the item. What can be done to get them to start buying online instead, even if they still pick up in the store? (It’s a slight but significant change that will save in-store personnel costs.)

Furthermore, retailers can do analysis to compare the hassle and cost of BOPIS with the hassle and cost of free shipping or even same-day shipping. We share industry averages but the truth is that every retailer’s customers are a little bit different.

Improving the BOPIS journey

About half of customers that chose a BOPIS option experience problems, according to a recent Fortune report. Such an experience can be deceptively positive to a business, as sales figures may increase because products have already been purchased. But while the sales numbers might look good, a bad experience could hurt repeat business and generally lower satisfaction.

Retailers that offer BOPIS must track the entire customer journey to identify potential issues and problems. With the right technology — such as ForeSee’s measurement and feedback tools — retailers can be confident that the effort put into a BOPIS experience will lead to more satisfied customers as well as a boost to ROI.

Attending 2016? Be sure to set aside time to meet with the ForeSee team on-site in Dallas to discuss how you can profit from measuring the full Voice of Customer. Request a ForeSee meeting time here.

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About the Author

Eric drives ForeSee’s marketing strategy, working closely with the company’s product, client service, and sales teams to infuse innovation and operational excellence into its offerings. Since joining ForeSee in 2004, he has contributed to the organization’s strategic growth, particularly providing leadership around mobile solutions. He is the author of several of the company’s thought leadership studies, including the 11th annual ForeSee Experience Index (FXI) and the American Employee Study. Eric is a frequent speaker on customer experience analytics, and marketing best practices. He is a board member of the Digital Analytics Association (DAA) and an adjunct professor of mobile marketing at the University of California, Irvine Extension. Previously, he worked as a web analyst, multichannel strategy consultant, usability specialist and focus group moderator. Eric is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

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