As businesses look to re-open to the public and society starts to evaluate how to resume day-to-day activities outside the home, the retail industry faces an uphill battle to meet shifts in consumer behavior and trends in a cost-effective or even a revenue-driving way. How can retailers make the shopping experience safer without sacrificing convenience or revenue? 

Omnichannel retail strategies like BOPIS or curbside pick-up lockers are emerging as the best solution. In fact, the number of orders placed online and picked up at a brick-and-mortar store increased dramatically in April – a 208% year-over-year increase1. These contact-free methods of fulfilling buy online, pick-up in-store orders are an easy way to increase revenue and (eventually) foot traffic for stores without putting employees or customers at risk. 

Now, retailers both large and small are rushing to implement omnichannel strategies, like curbside pick-up, that optimize their shopping experience and encourage a safe return to physical stores amid changing health and safety needs.

Why Use Omnichannel Retail?

Most retailers use multiple channels when interacting with or serving their customers. Brick and mortar stores, websites, email marketing, social media – these are all examples of sales channels that a retailer uses on a day-to-day basis. Omnichannel retail merges data across online and offline sales channels to improve the customer journey and serve customers with targeted messaging or products. 

For example, if a customer views product information on a retailer’s website, an omnichannel retail strategy might later serve them with a targeted ad on social media for the same product. 

Or, in another case, a customer might receive a loyalty program email that requires them to come to a brick and mortar point of sale to retrieve a free promotional item, then use a special code to get a discount; that special code helps track that the customer was influenced by the promotion and track any additional purchases that the customer made.

Coordinating offline and online purchases can help retailers better understand unique customer journeys and improve their overall shopping experience by serving their customers with relevant offerings at the right times in the right places. These omni channel strategies unify customer-facing communications across multiple sales channels to provide each customer with a personalized shopping experience tailored to their preferred touch points.

Why implement an omnichannel retail strategy now? When implemented with contact-free pick-up methods, omnichannel retail experiences can make the customer experience safer and more convenient. This is especially important when considering how to attract customers back to brick and mortar stores.

Bringing Customers Back to Brick and Mortar Stores Safely

As we begin to look to the future, retailers should consider omnichannel marketing strategies like buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) as a way to draw consumers back to brick and mortar stores.

In the initial phases of re-opening, curbside BOPIS order pick-up can help retailers serve their customers in a safer way. A secure, personalized shopping experience, especially one that meets consumers at their preferred touchpoints, can help retailers make the brick and mortar shopping experience safer and more convenient for their customers. 

Using BOPIS also allows retail store associates to focus their efforts on providing the best customer service experience possible to those consumers who are actually shopping in-store. Better customer service can lead to further revenue boosts, such as impulse purchases made by consumers who came in-store to retrieve their online orders.

As restrictions around which stores are allowed to accept customers and occupancy rates are relaxed, enabling customers to quickly, easily, and securely collect their purchases, like BOPIS or order pick-up lockers, will become a retailer’s key to omnichannel success. 

Omnichannel Retail: Creating Greater Convenience for Customers

As the industry responds to changing health and safety expectations and makes plans for resuming business, the competition for consumer spending will grow even more intense.

When implemented well, omnichannel retail strategies like BOPIS can provide nearly real-time analytics on what customers are purchasing, as well as where they’re shopping (e.g. did the purchase originate on the retailer’s website or one of their social media channels?). 

This unparalleled insight can enable retailers to plan inventory and store staffing for locations where there is more demand for the ability to order online and pick-up in-store or curbside, then activate physical store locations within those areas as micro fulfillment centers. This saves retailers significant capital that would normally be spent on shipping costs. 

Imagine being able to deliver the convenience of same day or next-day shipping at a 90% reduction in delivery costs2. This is the power of BOPIS. Retailers who shift their omnichannel strategy to include BOPIS can better compete with eCommerce giants without sacrificing the user experience or their bottom line.

And, if implemented curbside, outdoor BOPIS pick-up can provide even more convenience for consumers, both during the current climate and as businesses begin to find better ways to operate in the future. Outdoor order pick-up solutions, like order pick-up lockers, are accessible to retail customers both during business hours and outside of them, enabling the 24/7 on-demand order access that today’s consumers have come to expect in almost every aspect of their lives.

BOPIL for Improved Omnichannel Retail

Buy Online, Pick-up in Locker (BOPIL®) by Parcel Pending is more than just a smart, secure order management system. BOPIL can provide retailers with a number of benefits for an improved omnichannel retail experience, including:

  • Streamlined Operations: Retail stores that use BOPIL saved an average of 45 hours per month managing BOPIS orders. BOPIL is also proven to help retailers reduce shipping costs, namely last-mile delivery expenses. 
  • Improved Customer Experience and Customer Satisfaction: Providing a seamless, contact-free BOPIS model makes customers 95% more likely to become recurring shoppers3
  • Increased Sales Volume: 61% of omnichannel shoppers make an unplanned, additional purchase when retrieving their online orders. 
  • Higher Employee Engagement: By reducing the time spent managing BOPIS orders, employees are also able to focus on being knowledgeable resources for customers.

Retailers are showing an increased interest in BOPIS options like BOPIL, ones that involve little-to-no human contact to protect both their customers and their employees. Having these protections in place will be increasingly important to both employees and consumers, especially as stores begin to re-open to the public.

Interested in finding out how BOPIL can help your business and your customers? Reach out to a member of our team today.

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By Kate Reidel, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Parcel Pending by Quadient

Kate Reidel is Senior Vice President of Business Development at Parcel Pending, a Quadient company. She is responsible for driving the company’s growth in multiple verticals across North America and for strategically identifying and executing new business opportunities. She also is focused on establishing partnerships with clients to create a seamless package management solution that will positively impact their bottom line.

Prior to joining Parcel Pending, Kate served in Business Development roles within the financial and distribution sectors helping to develop key strategies and launching solutions. While at Xceed, a full-service, federally chartered not-for-profit workplace credit union, Kate launched the Loan Sales and Loan Participation Division bringing in over $5 million in Net Gains in the first 20 months of inception. Kate received her Bachelor’s of Business Administration focused in Marketing and Finance from The University of San Diego, as well as a Master’s Degree in Educational Counseling.

Sources:

  1. Thomas, Lauren. CNBC. Curbside pickup at retail stores surges 208% during coronavirus pandemic. (2020, April 27). https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/27/coronavirus-curbside-pickup-at-retail-stores-surges-208percent.html.
  2. Thomas, Lauren. CNBC. Target CEO says cost of handling online orders drops 90% when shoppers use same-day options. (2019, November 20). https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/20/target-is-cutting-costs-by-90percent-thanks-to-its-same-day-delivery-options.html.
  3. Parcel Pending. (2019, December). Parcel Pending’s BOPIL® Solution Helps Major Shoe Retailer Improve Its BOPIS Experience [Case study]. Retrieved from: https://info.parcelpending.com/fortune-500-retailer-bopis-bopil