Parcel Pending is the leading provider of package management solutions for residential, commercial, retail, and university properties in the United States and Canada. With over 2 million packages delivered monthly, we’ve had the unique opportunity to follow how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the bottom line for retail stores of all shapes and sizes across North America. 

Here are some of the most important trends we have observed over the past month:

BOPIS MODELS WILL BECOME “THE NEW NORMAL”

Buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) was a relatively new, but increasingly popular trend at the beginning of this year. Now, retailers both large and small are rushing to implement omnichannel retail strategies that optimize their BOPIS retail solutions amid changing health and safety needs.

Right now, online purchases come with extended shipping periods as couriers across the globe prioritize the shipment of medical supplies and essential household goods. Many physical stores can only allow a limited number of customers at any given time due to physical distancing recommendations and, in some cases, are not able to accept walk-in customers at all. 

When a retailer provides a curbside pick-up BOPIS option or order pick-up lockers near the front of the store, the overall shopping experience becomes faster and more secure, providing consumers with a quick, easy, and safe way to retrieve their groceries or household essentials without actually entering a physical store for instant gratification.

For instance, clients using our BOPIL (Buy Online, Pick-up in Locker) solutions have seen a significant increase in usage and adoption of our locker solutions during this time, as many locations were not able to accept walk-in customers. Instead, they used a BOPIS process to quickly fulfill online or phone-in orders, increasing their eCommerce sales volume from an average of 7-10% to above 15% at the end of March.

CUSTOMERS PREFER CONTACT-FREE PICK-UP OPTIONS

The shopping experience of the future is being reshaped by consumer fears and isolation-induced habits. A recent study conducted by weighing solutions provider Shekel indicated that 87% of consumers prefer contact-free shopping experiences like BOPIS models, click-and-collect lockers, or curbside pick-up1.

Since the start of physical distancing measures and “safer at home” orders, Parcel Pending has experienced a 46% increase in mobile app downloads and a 25% YOY increase in package deliveries to our lockers, growth that rivals what is usually seen around the holiday season.

“We’re grateful that we’ve been able to proactively meet the needs of our industry partners and the growing desire among users for contact-free pick-up options in the current environment,” states Lori Torres, CEO and Founder of Parcel Pending.

This increase in users taking advantage of contact-free pick-up options like our barcode scan feature and usage of our mobile app is expected to continue, if not grow significantly, as governments and businesses plan for how to re-open and re-start the economy. 

RETAILERS ARE INNOVATING TO MEET CHANGING CONSUMER EXPECTATIONS WITH A BOPIS RETAIL STRATEGY

In an effort to preserve their bottom line, many retailers are innovating to try and meet rapidly changing consumer expectations for safety in their shopping experience and convenient access to their purchases.

“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,” states Cynthia Aadal, VP of Retail Strategy at Parcel Pending. “They know that having protections in place will be increasingly important to both employees and consumers, especially as stores begin to re-open to the public.” 

As retailers look to the future and consider how to make the shopping experience safer without sacrificing convenience or revenue, BOPIS service options like order pick-up lockers or curbside pick-up are emerging as the best solution. These contact-free methods of fulfilling buy online and pick up in-store orders can increase sales volume for stores without putting employees or customers at risk.

If implemented curbside, order pick-up lockers can also provide added convenience for consumers, both during the current climate and as businesses begin to find better ways to operate in “the new normal”. Outdoor 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.

BOPIS models like order-pick up lockers also allow 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 buy online, pickup in-store orders.

IT’S NOT A QUESTION OF “IF”, IT’S A QUESTION OF “WHEN”

In the short run, BOPIS options give retailers a way to keep their doors open and continue serving their customers. In the long run, integrated BOPIS models can provide increased revenue for physical stores and change the retail industry for the better.

As the industry responds to “the new normal” and makes plans for resuming business, the competition for consumer spending will grow even more intense. Protecting customers and employees will be equally important. 

BOPIS models give customers all the convenience of online ordering while allowing retailers to fulfill orders on a local level. This saves retailers significant capital that would normally be spent on shipping costs. BOPIS also allows retailers to compete with eCommerce giants to provide same-day online order pick-up. 

When paired with contact-free, self-service BOPIS order options like curbside pick-up or order pick-up lockers, retailers can provide a safe, secure, and intuitive method for customers to pick up their orders. That also means that retailers can positively impact their bottom line while keeping their employees safe.

BOPIL IS THE FUTURE OF BOPIS

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, 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 78% more likely to become recurring shoppers. 
  • Increased Sales Volume: 61% of 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.

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

Sources:

  1. Shekel. (2020, April 7). 87% of Shoppers Prefer to Shop in Stores With Touchless or Robust Self-Checkout Options During COVID-19 Pandemic [Press release]. Retrieved from: https://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/news/