What’s behind the “buy online, pick-up in store” (BOPIS) surge in retail? ForeSee’s Jeff Sylvester helped explain the trend for a recent Reuters story.
Nivedita Balu, Siddharth Cavale
(Reuters) – As retail casualties such as Sears or Toys ‘R’ Us kept piling up, costly real estate often got the blame for traditional retailers’ struggle to keep up with e-commerce rivals.
Yet last U.S. holiday shopping season showed stores may offer retailers a rare competitive advantage as they scramble to fend off the challenge from e-commerce giant Amazon.com and other online retailers.
Enter “click and collect.”
Sales where customers order goods online and pick them up at a nearby store soared 47 percent in November and December compared with a year earlier, outstripping 16.5 percent growth in online sales, according to Adobe Analytics.
Among those reporting big increases in such sales are chains such Best Buy Co Inc, Target Corp, Walmart Inc and Home Depot Inc.
The experience of the 2017 holiday season when bad weather and a late surge in online orders overwhelmed shipping firms and led to delays is likely to have contributed to the surge in store pickups last season, retail experts say.
Yet even as UPS and FedEx largely avoided a repeat of such problems this time, analysts say store pickups, when handled right, offer enough benefits for consumers and retailers alike to keep gaining importance.
The numbers bear that out. According to retail research and consulting firm GlobalData Retail, store pickups accounted for nearly a third of U.S. online sales last November and December. That compares with about 22 percent a year earlier and just over 17 percent during the 2016 holiday season.
(Graphic: Click and collect growth during the holidays – tmsnrt.rs/2Ep2YJW)
The method “brings together the benefits of the digital shopping experience…with the instant gratification of same-day store pickup and easy returns,” said Jeff Sylvester a senior analyst at Foresee, a company that studies customer experience.