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Why Retailers Should Optimize BOPIS to Prevent a ‘Customer Revolt’

An industry survey has found that retailers that can maintain short wait times for their BOPIS services see clear improvements in future reorders and overall customer satisfaction compared to businesses that fail to do so.

Consumers were four times more likely to reorder from the same retailer when their BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) pickup wait times were under two minutes compared to wait times of 10 minutes, according to tens of millions of orders studied by Rakuten Ready, which  surveyed 25 retailers, quick-service restaurants and grocers to determine the overall BOPIS efficiency of each and learn more about the average click-and-collect experience.

For the survey, test shoppers conducted 755 drive tests between July and August 2019.

This data, combined with the “tens of millions of orders” studied by Rakuten Ready, suggested that consumers were four times more likely to reorder from the same retailer when their BOPIS pickup wait times were under two minutes compared to wait times of 10 minutes. However, only 54 percent of the orders in the 2019 study were found to have wait times less than two minutes, showing an inability of many businesses to live up to what consumers expect.

“It is clear from the study that the speed at which the customer’s expectations are evolving is outpacing the evolution of brand infrastructure to support them,” Rakuten Ready researchers wrote in the report. “Logistics, training methods and standard processes are being stressed to the breaking point, with many obviously cracking in the attempt to keep up.”

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More than 21 percent of the orders in the study were fulfilled in more than four minutes, double the time recommended by Rakuten Ready. The average retail wait time—when separated from quick-service restaurants and grocers—totaled three minutes and 34 seconds. This resulted in only 38 percent of orders coming in under the two-minute mark, while 73 percent of all orders were ready in less than four minutes.

Among fashion and accessories retailers, Nordstrom scored most satisfactorily with high rankings in both consumer satisfaction and the percentage of orders that came in under two minutes. Target was middling in both categories comparatively and Walmart scored well in customer satisfaction, despite relatively high wait times and a curbside pick-up program.

Using this data, Rakuten Ready was also able to determine four issues that were common among most retailers: lack of dedicated parking space or BOPIS signage, long customer service lines in-store, an inability to produce or locate orders properly and an overall lack of employee training.

To compete in a growing BOPIS market, retailers should combat these pitfalls by prioritizing wait times, evolving their pick-up infrastructure, empowering their employees to participate in the effort, promoting BOPIS programs and improving technology like POS systems to better interact with their customers, Rakuten Ready said.

“With less than 50 percent of all orders available in under 2 minutes and many brands struggling with the customer experience, clearly there is room for improvement,” Rakuten Ready said. “The study has made it obvious that brands must immediately close the gaps that shape the customer journey or risk a customer revolt.”