BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup In-Store), the buzzword of today and a necessity of tomorrow is now growing. Grocers are expanding their pickup offerings to include curbside, lockers, and in-store pickup options to their customers as they are increasingly seeking comfort and convenience in their shopping experience. The millennial moms – a key demographic – are power users of in-store pickup as it best fits with their busy workday schedule. A recent survey by HBR revealed that in the last year around 40% of Americans tried a new shopping method and over 75% of them who tested BOPIS wish to continue using the services post Pandemic. This doesn’t come as a surprise anymore as more and more people are asking “do you tip for grocery pickup?”. However, this present generation star that is loved by customers and businesses alike has its challenges and it originates from within the grocery store itself. This article will cover how grocery stores can overcome these challenges and implement a system that offers a memorable in-store pickup experience to their customers. It also talks about how choosing the right tool (online grocery pickup app) to compliment your BOPIS efforts is crucial to the strategy.
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
BOPIS Implementation Questionnaire:
|Bookmark Alert| – Come back to this space when you are ready to make your store BOPIS-friendly.
- Marketing: How will your existing and new customers know that you’re offering BOPIS services?
- Pick-up Strategy: Have you thought about how you will balance customer convenience vs. in-store traffic?
- Staff: Are you well positioned with their headcount, training, and their overall motivation?
- Store Organization: Did you think through storage and space for your BOPIS orders?
- Inventory Management: Do you have a plan to handle inventory shortages or missing items?
- Right Technology: Have you decided on the tool or channel that will enable placing and fulfilling your BOPIS orders?
- Process Efficiency: Cutomers hate waiting. Have you cemented an efficient pickup process so that customer’s order is ready in time for store-pickup?
- Customer Service: How do you plan to make (and keep) your customers happy?
A Winning BOPIS Implementation Guide for Online Grocery Ordering & Pickup
…and the answer to the question of the decade – do you really tip for grocery pickup? a little later in this article.
Show Off That You’re Now Offering BOPIS Services
If you’ve put in all the work over the last several months and your store is now BOPIS-ready, you might as well share to the world that they can now order groceries online and pick them up in-store. You could design an instructional flyer and visibly stick them in your store and upload them to your website. Home Depot, for example, has done a great job of outlining its BOPIS instructions on its website.
Evaluate Convenience vs. In-Store Traffic
Now with BOPIS being the talk of the grocery/retail town, major retailers are opening their stores to all channels of pickup that are appealing to customers. Apparently, by early 2021, about 51% of the top 1000 retailers offered curbside pickup. Sam’s Club, Whole Foods, Target, Publix, and Walmart, joined this trend quite early so customers don’t need to enter the store to physically retrieve their items. Curbside pickup is definitely an added convenience for shoppers and it could convince them to try BOPIS.
However, grocers would be able to upsell products to their shoppers if they could get them into the store. Customers tend to impulse buy items when they walk through the isles to buy milk, eggs, or bread that are intentionally put closer to the back of the store. The in-store pickup option offers add-on revenue opportunities that curbside pickup doesn’t. Every store owner must evaluate the pros and cons of the different BOPIS solutions (curbside pickup, lockers, and in-store pickup) and determine what makes the most sense to their business’s long-term growth strategy.
Prepare Your Staff for BOPIS
Objectively speaking, the BOPIS model is a lateral shift from traditional selling for store staff. Historically, the store associates have been trained to sell products to their customers who spend several minutes inside the store. Now, their training has to enable them to market, quickly fulfill orders online, engage with customers through order fulfillment, AND upsell products when they briefly enter the store. Also, did I mention they will need to quickly learn using the tool/software/online grocery pickup app that brings in the BOPIS orders?
Dedicate a specific area in your store to BOPIS orders
Nothing ruins a shopping experience more than having to wait 10 minutes inside the store AFTER having paid for the order. The close second to this would be having to spend minutes looking for their bag in different areas of the store.
If you have space available inside the store, create a counter dedicated to BOPIS orders, so that lines don’t form around the POS counter. Additionally, make sure to have clear signage inside the store to help direct customers to the BOPIS pickup area. Similarly for locker pickup. And, if you are implementing curbside pickup, make sure to clear up and designate an area of your parking lot to streamline your customers’ BOPIS experience.
Simplify inventory management/synchronization
About 25.2% of consumers have expressed that products not being available for pickup is the primary reason for not doing BOPIS. Again, 25% of them said they would use BOPIS more frequently if a greater selection of items are available for pickup than what is available in-store. Can this be achieved?
Lack of inventory synchronization is a major cause for a disgruntled buyer. It is essential that as soon as a store associate removes an item off the shelf for an online customer, the inventory must update in the system in real-time so that the item shows as out-of-stock when it actually is. Additionally, when a store staff is unable to find an item that was ordered by a customer, he must communicate that with the buyer and ask if he is open to substitutions. This will save time, energy, and frustration for the buyer when he arrives at the store for pickup.
Trying the following may help win over repeat buyers:
- investing in state of the art cross-channel Inventory Management Systems
- ensuring that your BOPIS tool/online grocery pickup app and your inventory management system talk to each other when an order is out-of-stock
- offering choices/substitutions to the customer when their first choice item is unavailable, missing or out-of-stock. If they’re unwilling to take substitutions, offer free store credits that they can apply on their next purchase with you.
Invest in the right technology and software
Without an all functional integrated tech stack, your BOPIS enablement will fall flat. Investing in the right technology will not only help with your customer acquisition and retention efforts but will also make your store associate’s life much easier. Whether it has to do with an intuitive UI or ease of payment and communication with the store, technology can help bridge gaps and provide an enjoyable shopping experience for customers.
Customers these days are always looking for speed in the procurement of goods and services. Thanks to same-day delivery services spoiling customers with choices and speed, BOPIS providers will need to compete and deliver a better experience to their customers in order to sustain in this business. To achieve this, choosing the right tool can assist to a great length.
The “right” BOPIS online grocery pickup app will take care of:
- Customer acquisition
- Order and Payment Processing and Management
- Workflow automation
- Inventory synchronization
- Customer retention and engagement… and more
Focus on improving pickup process efficiency
Customer’s order is prepped and ready to go? Great. But is he waiting in a long line at the pickup station?
All of your efforts with investing in the right tools, workforce, inventory, and experience can be completely thwarted by missing to deliver customer’s shopping bags into their hands, trunks, or backseats.
As soon as the bag hits the pickup station, your store staff could use their BOPIS tool (online grocery pickup app) to notify the customer that their order is ready for pick up – and they can arrive at the store during their chosen pickup window.
Ensure that your BOPIS customer is happy
With technology involved in delivering a service experience, customer service should start when a customer creates his online shopping cart and should continue even after he walks out of your store.
If a customer is able to directly chat with a real person from your store to clarify his BOPIS order, he feels listened to, gets his questions answered right then and there, buys a few more items (if your store associate has exemplary selling skills), feels satisfied with the purchase and is more likely to shop again. A happy customer = repeat business.
All of this information can be overwhelming as setting up a brand new sales channel can be challenging, even more so during Pandemic. But the good part is that majority of BOPIS challenges can be mitigated by using the right tool as it can at large help with the day-to-day operations.
Fish is a chat-based BOPIS enabler app, that helps customers to order groceries for pickup. It is custom-built to make the pick-up experience easy for the stores as well as their customers.
Question of the Day
Now, if you are here to know if you need to tip for a grocery pickup.
The answer is No. Major grocery chains and retailers are not accepting tips for grocery pickup services. However, your appreciation for the store’s efforts in the form of a positive review online or spreading a good word to your friends and family will greatly benefit the businesses that are trying to survive the Pandemic.