It’s no secret that the pandemic has permanently changed the retail landscape in more ways than one. Before the pandemic, Buy Online, pick-up in Store (BOPIS) wasn’t a priority service offering for most Shopify merchants. According to Digital360, only 7% of Top 500 retailers with stores offered store pick-up in 2019. But when COVID halted shopping in stores, customers were forced to wait for days, even weeks, for online orders to be delivered to their doors. BOPIS emerged as the perfect solution, enabling shoppers to purchase products online and collect them in-store at their convenience. The percentage of top 500 brands offering BOPIS quickly shot up to 44% by August 2020.
Today, offering same-day store pick-up is not only a nice differentiator, it’s a must-have capability for Shopify omnichannel merchants. Customers have grown accustomed to the flexibility of ordering online and picking up their products from the store or curbside within hours, or even minutes, of their purchase. The data is crystal clear - retailers today must invest in a BOPIS strategy or else risk losing out on sales to their competitors. But rolling out buy online pick-up in-store hastily and haphazardly, without truly considering the customer experience, is not the answer.
Recognizing the need for BOPIS, Shopify launched its own store pick-up solutions, and many of its clients quickly adopted them over the course of the pandemic in order to roll out BOPIS and curbside pick-up initiatives as a part of their new omnichannel order management strategy. However, while working with a number of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands on Shopify over the course of the past year, we discovered that they were not seeing any positive impact on conversion rates after launch. We worked closely with these brands to rethink their BOPIS strategies and identify ways to enhance consumer experiences and conversion rates.
In this blog, we’ll discuss eight recommendations that we’ve seen help DTC brands maximize the ROI of their Shopify store pick-up initiatives. These recommendations serve as an essential checklist for brands looking to launch a BOPIS program on Shopify.
1. Show a “Pick-up In Store” option on your Product Detail Page (PDP) instead of your Checkout Page
50% of customers say that their buying decisions are influenced positively if:
- A product is available immediately or on the same day
- Shipping is free
Same-day BOPIS is the perfect strategy to meet today’s customers’ expectations of fast and free delivery, but you have to make sure they’re aware that it’s an option as quickly as possible, and that’s where most retailers fail.
It’s crucial to showcase real-time in-store availability for same-day pick-up directly on the product detail page (PDP), because this is where customers make their decision to buy a product.
Most, if not all, of the apps on the Shopify store that allow for in-store pick-up show BOPIS options exclusively on the checkout page. This simple distinction leads to lost sales that could have been avoided had the customers known that in-store pick-up was an option while browsing the products they wished to purchase.
If you’re looking for ways to increase conversion rates, offering store pick-up directly on the product pages is an immediate win. Just like fast shipping and in-store return policies, same-day store pick-up is a critical element in a customer’s decision-making process (which happens before they reach the check-out page!)
2. Use location searches to help shoppers easily find the right store for pick-up
Shopify doesn’t offer any search or filter options when customers are selecting a store for pick-up. If a retailer has more than 10 store locations, the list of locations becomes clunky and difficult for users to navigate. Furthermore, customers will see stores all across the country, even ones that are a 6-hour flight away! That’s far from a convenient pick-up experience.
Offering basic search capabilities to customers to help them find the right store can mean the difference between a conversion and a lost sale. Here are some options to help narrow down the list of stores for pick-up:
- Keyword search
- Zip Code search
- Using the customers’ IP address
Cross-checking the listed stores and customers’ IP addresses can show how far the stores are from their location in miles or kilometers, helping them select the right location easily and improving overall user experience.
3. Offer same-day store pick-up instead of two-day pick-up
Many Shopify merchants claim to offer store pick-up, but when we ask how many days it takes to fulfill a store pick-up order, the answer is more than one day. This happens because they don’t have the tools to connect their Shopify order management platform to their Point of Sale. As a result, they can’t access real-time product availability information and have to ship that product to the store from the warehouse.
This is a ship-to-store strategy, not a BOPIS strategy. It’s a good fall-back for retailers to offer as an alternative when a product is out of stock, but an ideal store pick-up order should be fulfilled on the same day, preferably within a few hours of the customer placing the order. In many cases, customers are near a store location when they place a Shopify store pick-up order and expect immediate delivery. Imagine the disappointment! Instead of letting your customers down, invest in the right inventory tools to gain real-time inventory visibility and improve your BOPIS experience.
4. Allow mixed shopping carts
Sometimes, customers want to place an order for both “store pick-up” and “home delivery,” meaning they want some items in their order to be delivered at home and some to be picked up from the store. This is called a mixed shopping cart.
Unfortunately, Shopify does not allow mixed carts. The following excerpt is taken directly from Shopify documentation:
“Products that require shipping and products that are pickup only can't be in the same cart. If a customer tries to check out with both types of products, then an error message displays that products are out of stock.”
When this happens, customers are forced to place two separate orders, and we all know what that means. Many customers don’t want to repeat the checkout process, deciding instead to abandon one of their purchases. Allowing mixed carts is yet another quick win that will immediately result in increased conversion rates and a far superior online shopping experience.
5. Notify store personnel in real-time
If you are offering a store pick-up option to customers, you should ideally aim to fulfill it on the same-day, preferably within 2 hours. To make this happen, every step of order processing has to be agile.
Instead, customers often place store pick-up orders and store personnel have no idea, so they don’t start preparing the order until the customer walks in. Alternatively, some retailers check store pick-up orders every 1-2 hours and prepare them in bulk. In both of these cases, customers have to wait for their orders after arriving at the store, adding friction to the customer experience and reducing repeat BOPIS purchases. After all, the whole point of BOPIS is to skip long queues in-store!
To avoid this poor customer experience, your Omnichannel Order Management system must notify retail store associates about store pick-up orders as close to real-time as possible, so that they can begin processing these orders immediately and greet customers with a bag. These updates can be communicated through email, SMS, or push notifications to their mobile POS.
6. Offer alternate fulfillment options to save store pick-up orders instead of canceling them
According to the Auburn University RFID Lab, the average level of inventory accuracy for U.S. retailers is 65%: this means that more than a third of the time, the average retailer cannot tell if they have inventory in stock, leading to loss of sales. That statistic is so concerning it’s almost difficult to believe!
Most retailers accept store pick-up orders by checking against store inventory in the system. If system inventory does not match the physical inventory in stores, retailers fail to fulfill those orders due to widespread inaccuracies. This results in the direct cancellation of store pick-up orders and an unpleasant customer experience, which drives shoppers away from the brand.
Instead of canceling store pick-up orders for products that are out of stock, provide your customers with alternative options, such as pick-up from another location or delivery to their address. This saves store pick-up orders that may have otherwise been lost and provides a much more seamless experience overall.
7. Log inventory variances for unavailable store pick-up products
When store pick-up products are not available in stores, retail store associates can either cancel the order or offer alternate fulfillment options. However, if this product’s inventory status is not communicated accurately to Shopify eCommerce, customers will continue placing orders for this product despite it being out of stock.
It’s very important to log inventory variance in real-time so that customers are not placing repeat store pick-up orders for products that are unavailable in-store. Retail store associates should be equipped with the tools to accurately log inventory variance and communicate it to Shopify immediately. Ideally, this out-of-stock variance should be logged as soon as the retailer rejects the SKU, reducing the need to perform additional cycle counts.
8. Utilize dashboards to measure the success of your BOPIS strategy
“You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” This saying absolutely holds true when it comes to BOPIS initiatives. Using a dashboard to measure KPIs and understand where problems exist in your sales process is critical to ensuring the successful launch of your BOPIS strategy.
Upon launch, many retail brands experience high cancellations, hurting both the customer experience and the band’s profitability and productivity. These cancellations can occur for a variety of reasons, and utilizing a store dashboard helps the customer success team understand where issues lie in the BOPIS program.
Some critical metrics to include in your dashboard:
- BOPIS Fill-Rate
A high fill-rate means stores are fulfilling a higher number of BOPIS orders with low cancellation rates, and a low fill-rate reflects a higher number of BOPIS order cancellations. By focusing on fill-rate, retail leaders can dive deeper to uncover the reasons for low rates in certain product groups, such as inventory inaccuracy, negligence of store personnel, etc.
- High-performing stores
Identifying and rewarding stores that have high success rates in fulfilling BOPIS orders helps to establish competition among stores and promote the adoption of this new initiative.
- Top-performing products
It's very important to identify products with the highest BOPIS demand. This helps the merchandising team with allocation planning.
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While working closely with retail brands for implementing store pick-up on Shopify, we’ve seen all eight of these proven strategies not only to help brands improve their productivity and profitability, but increase conversion rates, customer satisfaction, and overall life-time value. However, you might be left scratching your head and wondering how you can actually implement these strategies, as they are all unavailable within Shopify’s solutions.
HotWax Commerce’s Order Management for Shopify has pre-integration with Shopify Plus and Shopify POS that empowers your team to easily implement all of these recommendations and transform your BOPIS initiative. Request a consultation with the HotWax Commerce team of experts to learn how we can optimize your omnichannel order management.