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Consumers Love BOPIS, But Retailers Fall Short In-Store

Shoppers love the convenience of buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) solutions.

The major stumbling block for retailers seeking to offer the solution, however, is keeping the pick-up process seamless and quick. That will make or break BOPIS for some brands, according to a new collaborative research study between OrderDynamics, Bell and Howell and IHL Group on top retailers’ BOPIS experiences.

Shoppers responded well to BOPIS as a service, giving it an average 4.40 out of 5 points, but when it came to individual retailers’ in-store and online services, there were significant disparities in customer satisfaction. According to the report, Best Buy and The Home Depot lead the group, with scores of 4.70 and 4.67, respectively. Both retailers scored well across all criteria. Staples, Macy’s and Walmart fell to the bottom of the rankings, despite performing well in the online experience evaluations. Their low scores were due to inconsistent notification times for order readiness and subpar in-store pickup experiences.

The amount of time required to complete the pickup process had a significant impact on users’ overall perception of the BOPIS experience. The report found that on average, customers were in the store for 5.58 minutes. It took associates roughly 2.6 minutes to find the merchandise, and close to 3 minutes for customers to travel through the store, find the BOPIS location, and complete the bagging and payment portion of the transaction. Retailers were much more efficient at this step when automated technology was used, seeing a 29 percent improvement in pick up time speed.

Additionally, retailers were inconsistent in notifying shoppers that orders were ready for pickup. The report indicated that the major point of delineation for customer satisfaction was four hours from order to being pick-up ready. Shoppers who were notified within four hours were 19 percent more likely to use the service again, and 15 percent more likely to recommend the service to others. The average time between order completion and notification was 5.9 hours, just above that four-hour sweet spot.

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The online facet of BOPIS performed consistently well, and mobile shopping was rated a 4.60, higher than the rating for BOPIS in general. However, if brands want to retain customers and win over new ones, they’ll need to increase the time between a customer’s placing an order and having it in-hand. The in-store experience is still the focal point—and the sticking point—for customer satisfaction.

The report is based on 300 shopping experiences that took place at 10 retailers between October and December in the United States last year, and those experiences were evaluated on a four-point BOPIS Experience Scale developed by the Bell and Howell. The scale measured customer reactions to the online purchasing experience, the in-store pickup experience, total pickup time from entry to exit, and likeliness to recommend or use the service in the future.