Move over, BOGO (Buy One, Get One free).  The new retail acronym in town is BOPIS, which stands for Buy Online Pickup In Store.  This is part of the movement towards bricks and clicks retailing in which a physical store also has an online shopping cart.

At first glance it is puzzling to understand why a customer would want to make a purchase online and then visit the store to pick up the merchandise.  I must admit that this is not something that I would be likely to do, however I can see the appeal to a younger demographic that is more comfortable shopping online than in person.   

A few advantages of BOPIS:

  1. It avoids the frustration of going into a store and not finding exactly what you are looking for
  2. It allows you to consider a wider range of goods than are usually available in the shop
  3. It saves time when you come into the store 

This service works best for stores that have more than one branch, or a warehouse, so that orders for items not already in stock can be fulfilled.  And of course BOPIS requires having a secure shopping cart in order to accept credit cards, and the ability to know what merchandise is available at any moment.

If your store doesn’t have this level of technology available, you can still offer to put merchandise featured on your web site on hold for customers so that they can pick it up easily when they stop in.  And unlike larger retailers, it is easy for a specialty shop to promise to have a gift beautifully wrapped and ready to go.  

Be sure to promote that fact this email or phone service is available on your site, and in your email blasts.  Since you won’t be getting payment until the customer comes in, you’ll want to ask for a “hold until” date so that you can return the product to stock in the person doesn’t come in.  Because that is the small risk associated with my version of BOPIS — browse online, pick up in store.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder 

PS The illustration with today’s blog is from an excellent Technology Therapy Group article about BOPIS.