If you wait until the last second to do your holiday shopping, buying online and picking up in-store (BOPIS) is your best friend. Store pickup has become a staple of online shopping over the past few years and has saved many a holiday shopper who simply doesn’t have the time to wait for shipping. At first glance, this functionality may seem simple, but when you look closer, it becomes apparent that some features are more important than others.
Location is everything when it comes to in-store pickup. Rather than asking the user to search for a location, some sites use your ip to determine your general location and automatically assign the closest store for you.
In this instance, your location can typically be found in the site header so that no matter what page you’re on, you know which location you’re ‘shopping.’ While this doesn’t cover 100% of users, it’s still a nice time saver.
While “location” is the most important part of store pickup, product availability is a close second. There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving at your destination only to find the item you want is out of stock.
Sites that champion in-store pickup will introduce product availability information as early as the search results or category browse page. Great sites will include the actual stock number and the store hours. Not only does this inform users, but it creates a sense of urgency which drives conversion. For example, a user is more likely to go straight to check out if they know there is only 1 item left in stock and the store closes in half an hour.
BOPIS and ROPIS
Once a user knows what they want and which stores have it, they can continue to the next step. This involves securing the item for pickup via the website. BOPIS and ROPIS refer to two very distinct types of store pickup (and incidentally are very fun to say) BOPIS stands for Buy Online Pick up In Store while ROPIS stands for Reserve Online Pick up in Store. Simply put, BOPIS involves paying online and ROPIS involves paying in store.
BOPIS is valuable because it allows real world shoppers to use all the convenience of online checkout including one click purchasing, payment methods like Apple Pay and PayPal, promo codes, rewards points, and more. ROPIS is nice because the customer can secure their item for pickup without going through checkout. It is typically a simple one page form or even a ‘tap to call’ process for mobile phone users.
The final step in the store pick up journey is the actual acquisition of items. You can design and build the perfect online experience, but if your customer doesn’t know what to do there’s bound to be trouble.
Different sites and stores have come up with some interesting solutions. Most stores will have an order pick up kiosk somewhere near the entrance to the store. Alternately, stores like Home Depot will tell customers what aisle their item can be found in. Microcenter will even give you a map!
Walmart has been rolling out a giant vending-machine-style tower where customers scan a code and receive their item.
If that’s not convenient enough, Walmart BOPIS customers can request curbside delivery. A store associate will load your items into your car right outside.
The rapid progression of web and mobile technology has given rise to the incredible progress of the store pick up experience, and the future looks even more promising. Remember to explore all the options available if you ever need to pick something up last-minute for your holiday gift exchange!