BOPIS: When Online Shopping Meets The Physical Retail Experience

Offering a BOPIS retail experience is an essential part of meeting modern customer expectations. Big retailers such as Amazon and Target have already taken advantage of this innovation in eCommerce but how can it benefit your brand? Keep reading to find out.

What is BOPIS?

BOPIS stands for Buy Online Pickup In Store. This means a consumer can order a product through your app or website and then pick it up in-person at one of your physical locations.

BOPIS has come a long way from the early days of making an order online and collecting it at the store several hours later behind the customer service desk. Now with the emergence of Amazon's lightning-fast shipping window BOPIS has had to adapt and reinvent itself for the current times.

A BOPIS strategy can provide traditional stores with a unique selling point that eCommerce giants like Amazon can't offer and it drives in-store footfall too.

Also known as click and collect BOPIS offers customers a blended experience. It caters for people who feel more comfortable choosing products online as well as those time-strapped consumers who aren't able to browse your store and want to ensure a product is available when they drop by.

BOPIS offers the best of both worlds providing customers with flexibility convenience and more choice.

How does BOPIS work?

Placing an order

BOPIS usually works by allowing consumers to buy a product online and choose a pickup in-store delivery option before they checkout.

They will be able to choose the location that they want to collect their order from and in most cases they should see an estimated pickup time or be able to choose one themselves. If your software offers real-time inventory visibility this won't be a problem.

Once the payment goes through the customer will receive an order confirmation by text email or push notification. This usually includes a receipt as well as a QR code or order number to be presented at collection.

Ideally this message will also include next-step instructions about where to pick up the order and at what time. If customers need to wait for confirmation that their order is ready retailers usually remind them of this here.


The BOPIS fulfilment model is pretty straightforward but a lot can go wrong when coordinating order preparation and pickup times.

According to Forbes 24% of BOPIS orders were NOT ready for pickup even though the pickup notifications were sent? This leads to a negative customer experience that would discourage shoppers from using buy-online-pickup-in-store with that retailer in the future.

Looking to improve the customer experience while improving conversion rates and retention? Include some automation. Retailers that incorporate automation saw an increase of 28% in pickup time speed. Walmart in particular saw an improvement of 60%.

Staff at the customer's selected location need to be notified of the incoming order immediately and fed specific automated instructions on how to prepare it for pickup. Most retailers use an app for this.

Usually it will require scanning the products to make sure the order is correct before packing. Otherwise the staff won't be able to proceed and print the order label. The order label should be scanned before the system notifies customers that the order is ready for collection.


Most retailers set up a designated click and collect area for BOPIS customers.

In-store customers don't want to wait in line while sales assistants go to find someone else's order. Click and collect customers don't want to wait in crowded queues either - this takes away from the convenience of the BOPIS model.

It also makes sense to have a dedicated desk where all pickup orders are stored. This is usually signposted throughout the store too.

Why is BOPIS important?

In 2019 over 50% of adult shoppers used BOPIS retail services according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic this figure has shot up.

Retailers like Target saw a 60% increase in BOPIS sales mid-2020 while insights from Microsoft suggest that BOPIS searches are 17 times higher than they were pre-pandemic.

As a result 90% of retailers are implementing BOPIS strategies. For customers this offers convenience safety and flexibility. Most people expect an easy and frictionless consumer journey. Giving them the flexibility to collect their items without delay on their own time contributes to a positive experience.

Implementing a top-class BOPIS strategy makes sense long-term too. In 2018 Home Depot saw a spike in sales as more of its online shoppers decided to pick up their orders in-store. Likewise Dollar General and Petco noticed better overall sales after the introduction of their BOPIS strategies.

Click and collect is important for smaller retailers too especially if they don't offer free delivery. It allows them to provide a free option while also providing an opportunity to wow customers with shop displays friendly service and attractive packaging - something that online-only eCommerce sites can't offer.

In addition by providing a BOPIS option retailers are able to compete with Amazon Prime's lightning-fast shipping and allow customers to collect their orders ASAP.

The evolution of BOPIS will continue to change and shift to adapt to contemporary eCommerce needs. There's one thing that is unchanging though BOPIS is no longer an optional strategy for success. Retailers and brands need to be implementing BOPIS into their strategies to help bridge the gap between eCommerce and physical stores.

How do you implement a BOPIS service?

To effectively implement a BOPIS service you'll need an app or website a brick-and-mortar location and modern inventory tracking technology.

1. Introduce real-time inventory tracking

If you don't have real-time oversight of your inventory levels at each location you'll risk a stockout and find yourself dealing with a lot of annoyed customers who arrived in-store to pick something up that isn't there.

Stock reporting tools like eTail Monitoring enables you to analyse your product's stock and pricing across retailers. Not only does this provide you with all the needed data but also helps to improve consistency and helps to avoid losing out on sales.

2. Update your online store

Now you can add pickup as a delivery option at your store's checkout. Update the copy on product pages FAQs and all other marketing collateral.

If you have multiple physical locations an offline locator tool will let you automatically capture a visitor's location and let them easily see where they can pick up their product locally. By offering consumers all of the information required to purchase a product online and pick up in-store brands can further enhance their consumer experience while capturing interest at its peak.

3. Get staff on-board

You'll need to assign employees to prepare orders and serve click and collect customers in-store. The hours assigned will depend on whether you offer next-day or same-day pickup - and the volume of orders coming in. You'll also need to train these staff members to use your order fulfilment software for BOPIS orders.

In case an order goes wrong put someone in charge of contacting customers. If staff members have clearly assigned roles the implementation of your BOPIS retail service is more likely to go well.

4. Set up collection points

As well as setting up an in-store pickup location you could also arrange curbside pickup storage lockers or third party pickups.

Trunk or curbside pickup won't increase in-store footfall but it has become a big selling point during the pandemic. Walmart Home Depot and Target all offer curbside pickup because it's ideal for collecting bulky orders. Retailers who want to offer pickups from warehouse locations can take advantage of it too.

You could also introduce lockers to stores or car parks - or use third-party services like Parcel Motel Doddle or PenguinPickUp to offer even more pickup locations.

What are the benefits of BOPIS?

Increased conversions

As we mentioned the likes of Petco Dollar General and Home Depot all saw increased sales after introducing BOPIS services. One report even suggests that 67% of BOPIS shoppers buy additional items when picking up their original order.

Reduced cart abandonment

In a 2018 eMarketer study 50% of online shoppers said high shipping fees would prevent them from making an online purchase. 40% said the same about lengthy delivery times. So offering an alternative delivery method like click and collect can capture these online shoppers.

Better experiences

For 70% of customers click and collect offers a better experience. They can take advantage of quicker delivery times shop from the comfort of their home and avoid crowds. They can also collect their order at a time that suits them and return it immediately if there is a problem.

No shipping fees

35% of consumers say they prefer picking up items in-store because it allows them to avoid shipping fees. For retailers last mile shipping costs are usually the most expensive too. So introducing BOPIS is a win-win for both businesses and their customers.

More secure deliveries

According to a study by 11% of shoppers choose BOPIS services to avoid theft. There's a lower risk of orders getting lost or becoming damaged too.

What are the challenges of BOPIS?

Finding store space

Research suggests that one of the biggest challenges of introducing click and collect services is finding enough room to process store and hand out the orders in stores.

Inventory management

Retailers struggle with empty store shelves as a result of increased demand from online orders. For this reason it's important to update your ordering practices to prevent stockouts.

New overheads

Introducing a BOPIS service brings with it extra labour costs marketing costs and tech investment. The number of orders you'll receive is unpredictable so estimating these costs can be difficult too.

How ChannelSight can help

Whatever part of your BOPIS service you're struggling with ChannelSight has tools to help. ChannelSight has a team of experts that can help you build a robust and data-driven eCommerce strategy to help increase your conversions. Contact us today to book a demo with our team of experts.

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