What is BOPIS in the retail industry?

. Reading time: 4 min.

Joao Lopes
Joao Lopes

A new term has been thrown around in the retail space lately – you might not know what BOPIS means but have used it nevertheless.

So, what is BOPIS in Retail?

BOPIS stands for Buy Online Pick-up In Store – a common practice for most retailers nowadays – and a winning one.

Following the birth and growth of e-commerce, traditional retailers had to adapt their businesses – most big retail chains did the obvious:
Bring their products online.

Creating online stores, to allow their customers to buy their products online, and have them shipped to their place.
Almost every major retailer nowadays has its own e-commerce platform.

With increasing weight on their online sales, and consequent decrease of their physical sales, but also facing the fact that most customers expect low or non-existent shipping fees a new service was born: BOPIS.

The concept is quite simple, customers will buy their items online, but instead of having them shipped to their house, and paying delivery fees, they can choose to pick the item in the store instead.

Due to the need for contactless interactions and lockdown, BOPIS systems saw a surge in demand.

Now that you can answer the questions: what is BOPIS in Retail, let’s go over it’s main advantages and disadvantages.

The Good

This creates obvious benefits for both customers and retailers, which led to the fast and wide adoption of this practice, which will be available in 90% of retailers by 2021.

For the Costumer:

  • Avoids delivery fees
  • Get the items faster – since the product is usually already on-premises
  • Allows to check products physically and simplifies the return process
  • A delivery alternative, for those who can’t have their items shipped to their home or workplace

For the Retailer:

  • Avoid spending on delivery fees (free shipping scenarios)
  • Avoid the logistic work involved in shipping items
  • Increase of the foot traffic on your store
  • Increase of the upselling opportunities from online buyers

And it’s no wonder that retailers are embracing this trend as up to 37% of the online customers end up buying an extra, unplanned item when picking-up their previously bought item.

The Bad (BOPIS Issues)

And although there’s many benefits to the BOPIS system, there’s also some concerns:

If the shop saves money by not shipping the items, it might spend it in staff work hours: when the volume of BOPIS becomes quite large, it is often needed to have one or more staff members taking care of it full-time – a lot of retailers even made a dedicated desk or space for this service, managing this system might also come with a cost – since the average retailer spends up to 45 hours a month doing so.

With this in mind, a new trend is surging – through the use of smart lockers.
Inspired by the parcel delivery locker system – a new use-case for smart lockers was born, to fix the BOPIS issues. 

what is bopis smart locker

Now that you can answer the question of what is BOPIS in Retail, we will talk about the next trend…

The next step: Automating BOPIS

This is what is starting to be called BOPIL (Buy Online Pick-up in Locker).
The concept is quite simple: the user does the BOPIS process, but instead of interacting with a staff member to collect it’s item, the store will have a smart locker, inside its premises, and the user will pick his item from there.

Obviously, this system also brings some advantages to the retailer – since it highly reduces the amount of staff work needed to run the BOPIS system, instead of having staff members ready to deliver items at all times – they simply need to deposit the item in the locker, and users will be able to pick them autonomously.

In practice, the retailer is automating the BOPIS process – cutting most of the human cost out of it.

And taking into account that customers look for a simple and quick process when they choose this delivery method – it is also important to ensure that the user doesn’t have to wait in line, or that he doesn’t have a bad experience – having a uniform process allows to easily control its quality.

BOPIL systems also can be fully contactless experiences without any human interaction, making them a good lockdown solution.

Therefore it’s most important to ensure that the user has a good experience when interacting with this system.

That’s our biggest focus when developing our software – that’s why retailers looking to automate their BOPIS system – should take a look into our OS, which provides an intuitive, easy to use, and simple user interface.

What is BOPIS in Retail?

BOPIS stands for Buy Online Pick-up In Store.