Of the $5 trillion dollars of total U.S. retail sales in 2017, 30% or $1.53 trillion of those purchases occurred via "BOPIS, Buy Online Pickup in Store" transactions. Most retailers and brands will agree that $1.53 trillion per year is quite an alluring revenue opportunity.
However, with massive retailer investment in e-commerce, mobile shopping apps, and voice activated shopping technology over the last five-years, a vast majority of those American retail brain trust have missed the "BOPIS" target profoundly. How exactly did that happen? The answer is really quite simple and is best explained as follows:
• Shopper demands, and subsequent behavior have changed - they have matured, while most retailers have not nimbly shifted to accommodate shopper transitions
• Most retailers and brands suffer from a form of nearsightedness in their steadfast hope that their substantial investment in strict e-commerce capabilities will pay-off, hoping to recoup losses & save their own executive-level butts. This effort is futile.
Is anyone getting it right?
While it is true that most retailers have "missed the mark" a few in-the-know, and forward-thinking retail behemoths have not, and they are crushing their competitors, prospering in major ways - gaining significant market share and sales revenue, and are acting to further extend that edge. They got-there-first & are relentless in the pursuit of domination.
Walmart for example, offers "customer discounts" for in-store pickup at all of their current
6,363 U.S. located stores. Walmart has also recently completed a successful inside store "Pickup Tower" pilot program and is now expanding that service on a U.S wide basis. In addition, they have begun a 24/7 available self-service "grocery pickup kiosk" pilot program. Early data indicates that the kiosk pilot program has been widely accepted, utilized by their growing customer base and Walmart profitable. Conjointly, their early investment in localized shopping search capabilities such as "near me" propositioned them to fully exploit the trending phenomena of "BOPIS" consumerism.
Amazon with their June 2017 $13.7 billion cash acquisition of Whole Foods now offers "free shipping" to customers who are willing to pick up their packages at the nearest of the 470 Whole Foods Market locations. Initial data suggest that shoppers will also shop and buy grocery products at Whole Foods while they’re claiming their cardboard package of e-commerce books and electronics. This innovative approach is a compliment to their proven "Order online, pick up today" service, where the company delivers parcels to a centralized bank of lockers instead of covering last-mile routes to consumers’ front doors.
Another successful location-based undertaking, "Amazon Go", the mobile "BOPIS" based automated-cashless pilot program launched by Amazon in 2018, with five locations is expected to expand that number to 3,000 by 2021 further extending their retail footprint.
They both get it; they understand as do we at Lastmile that high-intent local buyers are the holy grail of target marketing and optimal corporate profitability. But, why is that - why does "BOPIS" work so well? What do you need to know to be state-of-retail competitive?
The Top Three Reasons for BOPIS Domination: - Understanding the Shopper:
Although subtle difference occurs based upon demographics such as age, gender, and geographic living location occur the following nation-wide shopper survey presents a realistic spot-on measure of shopper mentality-behavior supporting the value of "BOPIS".
• 48% Product Interaction: is largely touted as the most important factor in driving shoppers into stores. Studies tell us that humans are intrinsically tactile - we like to touch and feel, it’s fun – that we are "emotionally reached" by such actions. We agree, but our analysis uncovers a more practical reason for product interaction;
we want to be sure that the product lives up to our expectations as in "caveat emptor", buyer beware - giving the shopper an excuse to buy.
This product reinforcement has a secondary rationale, the desire to avoid the common hassles of e-commerce products returns, which average 35% for online purchases. 85% of shoppers surveyed selected "returns" as their primary concern.
• 38% Instant Gratification: this human factor element takes several forms with the most prominent being the convenience and timeliness of "nearby shopping": "I ‘want it now, I want in in-stock and nearby, I don’t want to wait, and I don’t want to deal with shipping costs and associated hassles of returns". "Near me" shopping has grown 34x since 2011 with a remarkable 200% growth in the last two-years. In addition, 46% of all Google searches are local – and that trend is expected to reach 60% by 2020. Facebook and Amazon report a similar local-search rate across all demographics and product lines and report that yearly increases are trending.
• 14% Sales Staff Support: shoppers also seek a logical connection providing a reason to buy when buying products. The ability to discuss such important product issues in an in-store or online via a pre-sales chat feature as: specifications, warranties and accessory items with a learned in-store sales person provides that connection, giving the shopper an empowerment of confidence, and a solid reason to buy. These support conversations further promote trust and loyalty, for upsells, and future success regarding product support and sales activities.
The Hidden Value of BOPIS
• Upsell opportunities: 40% of in-store buyers will purchase additional items
• The average in-store purchase value is 22% higher than on-line buys
• Loyalty and Referral Programs signup increase by 11%
• Returns Minimization: enhancing store net profitability by 10%
• Enhanced Inventory Control with POS, Point of Sale systems
Getting Started with a Simple Test Campaign
If you aren’t sure how effective your "local search" BOPIS efforts will be, the fastest easiest way to validate the power of "BOPIS enriched local search" is with a simple A|B test. Select two (or more) similar markets in order to track sales volume. By holding a similar market as a constant (i.e. not changing anything you’re already doing now), you can see the direct impact a larger focus on "BOPIS 1enriched local search" delivers to your bottom-line.
Armed with the data and a proven successful track record, you can begin to develop new approaches and "local market BOPIS" models that support your desired growth. This allows you to have more control and influence over the "last mile" of the customer purchase decisions. Because, after all, doesn’t all your marketing and advertising efforts lead up to that most critical step in the customer journey? Where and what they buy matters and "BOPIS enriched local search" gives you the power to create substantial influence in these final moments that creates brand winners and losers!
Instead of leaving to chance what happens next, retailers have the opportunity to direct high-intent foot traffic to preferred nearby retail locations - while also measuring the direct impact of your "local search BOPIS, Buy Online Pickup in Store" investments.