By Jennifer Wedzik
Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College
Many of our local businesses have been adversely affected and continue to feel the heavy impact of COVID on their business. If you are one of these businesses, then you have, hopefully been exploring options for your customers to safely and creatively buy from you locally. There are many selling options out there, but one that I believe you should strongly consider is “Buy Online and Pick-up In Store” or BOPIS.
BOPIS options are a hybrid between Brick and Mortar and online shopping. You have probably seen something like this already or even used it yourself… the customer buys the product online and picks it up, at their convenience, at their local store. According to a survey by the consulting company Invesp from March of this year, over 50 percent of online shoppers have used BOPIS - and that number has only surged upward during the pandemic. This trend is big and growing. If you want to learn about this trend and other selling and payment trends, think about signing up for the free Jamestown SBDC webinar on January 20 at 10am.
Your customers LOVE BOPIS! We know this for certain as the National Retail Federation, last year, reported that 70% of respondents said BOPIS improved their shopping experience. BOPIS is a convenient and flexible option for customers which is crucial during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, BOPIS is shown to be an important part to customer’s choice of where to buy. The “buy online” part saves time so the customer does not have to go to multiple stores to find an item and saves time at checkout. The “picking up at store” part saves them money by eliminating shipping costs and they get an item quicker than if it had to be shipped (while also keeping people safer). We all know how important customer loyalty and satisfaction is. BOPIS draws customers into your business and provides them with an improved and convenient shopping option.
Not only can BOPIS drive customers to your store, it can possibly generate additional income from customers once they are at the store for pick-up. An OrderDynamics study in 2019 found that 37% of customers who came in to pick-up their item, actually bought extra items during that same trip. This survey really shines a light on how BOPIS can not only provide your customer with more buying options, but also provide you, the business owner, with more sales.
As businesses struggle to adapt during this difficult time, they will need to consider BOPIS and other creative selling options. This is true for retail outlets and restaurants as well. Restaurants have understood how important the drive-thru is to their business and now they must expand to allow customers to order online and get their food either curbside or via delivery. This can be achieved via numerous online menu and ordering platforms that can be found and researched online. For the retail store it is crucial to find ways to offer clients contactless checkout for added convenience. To do this, retailers may need to talk to their Point of Sale (POS) providers, engage creatively on social media, or consider new online platforms.
This decision to pivot and offer a service such as BOPIS is, in the end, incredibly important to the bottom line of all retailers. According to a survey by Invespro, 50 percent of shoppers decide WHERE to shop based on whether or not they could pick up in store. Whether you are a restaurant looking to add an online menu or a brick-and-mortar retailer trying to keep (or expand) your local customer base, it may be time to incorporate BOPIS as an option for your business. This is a trend you can’t ignore and getting help to navigate the steps (which can sometimes be confusing) is right around the corner at your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) office. Your local SBDC counselor is waiting to help and give you free counseling on all of these and other creative selling options! Call the SBDC today at (716) 338-1024.