What Is BOPIS in Retail Sales? A Definitive Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 16, 2021

Buying products online and picking them up in the store is an option for many retail consumers. This process, also called "BOPIS", can help stores reduce lines and improve their customer service experience. Understanding what BOPIS is and what its uses are can help store owners and retail managers better utilize the system for their own storefronts. In this article, we explain what BOPIS is in retail sales, the benefits of using BOPIS for customers and store owners and tips for implementing a BOPIS system.

What is BOPIS in retail sales? A definitive guide

BOPIS, or buy online pick up in store, is a sales method in which customers search a company website for a product, purchase it online and then retrieve the item at their local store branch. BOPIS is a blend of e-commerce sales and traditional storefront sales. Retail stores use BOPIS to help generate more income and attract new customers with a a quicker, more efficient customer experience.

Related: What Is E-commerce? Definition, Types and Importance

How do stores use BOPIS?

Stores use BOPIS with specialized POS, or point of sale software. POS software allows retail store customers to purchase an item online. The purchase removes the item from the POS system's inventory memory and adds the funds to the store account. Once the customer places an order, a notification reaches the store, where employees find and hold the item for the customer. A retail store might use the BOPIS system to advertise their online services during the holiday season to reduce customer lines and wait times. Some retail stores use BOPIS to minimize foot traffic and reduce the need for extra employees.

Related: Learn About Being a Retail Sales Associate

Benefits of using BOPIS for customers and stores

BOPIS offers many benefits to both customers and stores. These benefits can include:

  • Reduced lines: Retail customers typically don't wait in long lines when using the BOPIS system. Often, the store devotes a cash register lane or the customer service desk to fulfilling BOPIS orders, so customers avoid lines at other registers during busy store hours.

  • Expanded customer base: Buying items online can make the retail experience more accessible for some customers, expanding the company's customer base. This helps bring new customers to the store and can expand the company's profits as more customers buy online.

  • Reduced theft: The BOPIS system ensures that customers pay for their items in advance, reducing the chance of theft by reducing the number of people walking around the store. Reducing theft can help a business reclaim lost profits due to damaged or stolen items.

  • Expanded store network:BOPIS can be a great addition to retail chains with multiple storefronts because it helps expand the store's network and available options. Customers can order online from a store across their state and pick up their item at a local branch, saving time and shipping costs for both the company and the buyer.

  • More competitive business: Retail stores that offer BOPIS services may be more competitive in their industry. By improving customer service, accessibility and availability of items, retail stores can attract new customers from their competitors.

  • Improved customer satisfaction: Customers that use BOPIS may happier with the company because of the accessibility and availability of items. Customer satisfaction can increase a company's brand image and customer loyalty.

  • Saved time and money: Customers can save time and money by using a company's BOPIS service. It takes only a few minutes to order an item online and customers can pick up items at their convenience. They also forego shipping costs, saving some extra money on the purchase.

  • Quicker returns and exchanges: Customers returning items can process their returns or exchanges online, completing the checkout on the company website before returning items to the store. This process helps reduce lines and makes the returns processes quicker for customers and stores.

  • Guaranteed item stock: Sometimes, items are available online but not in stores. Adopting BOPIS services allows customers to verify that items are available at their local store or available for pickup before committing time or money to the purchase of that item.

  • Better store staffing:BOPIS allows stores to create incremental foot traffic, which can reduce their overall needs for store staff. Reducing the hours or number of store staff can save the company money.

  • More compelling marketing campaigns: With the addition of BOPIS services, retailers may find that their marketing campaigns are more compelling for customers. Ads that include a BOPIS option typically showcase convenience and customer service, which can inspire customers to action.

Related: 20 Different E-Commerce Careers To Consider

Tips for using BOPIS in a retail setting

Here are some helpful tips for using BOPIS in retail:

Communicate with customers

Before you introduce your BOPIS system to customers, consider creating an announcement or digital newsletter detailing the change. Include how the systems works, the link to the company website and the store phone number. Prepare for customer questions with FAQs or a fact sheet about the process. Communicating with your customers helps reduce confusion about the system and can help ensure a smooth launch day for the BOPIS system.

Designate store space for pick-ups

A BOPIS kiosk or self-serve shelving can make the process more efficient for customers. Consider dedicating a space in your store for BOPIS orders. A self-serve shelf is a popular choice in many food service establishments and allows customers to walk in and collect their items without stopping at a register. Include signage at the doors or in the store to help direct BOPIS customers to the kiosk. You may also dedicate some staff hours to the BOPIS desk or kiosk to help with any service issues.

Related: Retail Work: The Definitive Guide

Consider mobile-friendly ordering

Many internet users access the web through mobile phones or other devices. Having a mobile app or mobile-friendly website can help ensure customers can access the BOPIS system regardless of the device they're using. Improving accessibility can help attract new customers and improve current customer loyalty. Consider hiring a development firm to create a custom mobile application customers can use to place orders for BOPIS.

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