Nearly 80% of shoppers prefer omnichannel strategies since the communication experience is seamless. However, when you hear ‘omnichannel’, most people think of omnichannel marketing or sales. BOPIS, or ‘Buy Online Pickup In Store’ is an interesting omnichannel fulfillment strategy. It combines the benefits of online shopping and the instant gratification of offline shopping.

BOPIS is a realistic strategy for retailers with a presence on the web and in the real world. That means that it can be of real value for traditional retailers moving to the web, as well as established online retailers with a network of warehouses or tie-ups with physical stores.

So what is omnichannel fulfillment, what is BOPIS, how does it connect to mobile shopping, and how do you prepare to offer it?

mCommerce and BOPIS

mCommerce shoppers, unlike eCommerce customers, can shop from anywhere. That means that they could be shopping on the go, near a physical market, or near your own physical store. mCommerce is seeing rapid growth, with 79% of smartphone users having used their mobile devices to complete an online shopping order, in the last six months.

Imagine a customer on their commute home. They’re at the bus stop or in a cab, scrolling through their social shopping feed or on your mobile shopping app. Since you’ve implemented an omnichannel marketing approach, your mobile application and social shopping strategy are fully optimized. They interact with your products and find that they really like a certain product, but aren’t sure of the quality.

When you have multiple touchpoints, you can provide your customer with a better shopping experience. This improves sales revenue and profitability, and reduces the risk of product returns.

The fulfillment process includes payment, delivery/pickup, and return/exchange. An omnichannel fulfillment strategy involves completion of some parts of this process online, and some in-store. Some common omnichannel fulfillment strategies include BOPIS (the most popular approach), BORIS and ROPIS.

BOPIS: Buy Online, Pickup In-Store

ROPIS: Reserve Online, Pickup/Pay In-Store

BORIS: Buy Online, Return In-Store

The beauty of these strategies is that they work very well on mobile commerce, which is the growing trend in eCommerce. The shopper can seamlessly complete the fulfillment process without leaving their mobile application or shopping experience.

How does BOPIS work?

BOPIS offers specific benefits to retailers who have a presence in both online and offline spaces. Consider a customer who’s browsing through your online store and finds a product they really like. However, they need it the same day, and you only offer next-day delivery. It’s not an issue of stock availability, just logistics – the unit is available in the store just around the corner from your customer’s home. A BOPIS option would make on-time fulfillment possible for your customer. What’s more, they save on shipping fees.

With a BOPIS or ROPIS fulfillment approach, you enable your customer to visit your store or experience center to physically interact with the product before purchase. They can buy or reserve the product online and pick it up in-store. Almost all modern eCommerce platforms support mCommerce and omnichannel shopping, including BOPIS.

What features do you need from your eCommerce platform to support BOPIS?

Mobile shopping support

The most important feature you need from your platform is complete mobile commerce support. A mobile application or branded mobile website enables mCommerce shopping and allows your customers to connect online and offline shopping experiences. With a robust eCommerce website, connected to a mobile application, you can go beyond simple online shopping to offer omnichannel shopping experiences.

Real-time inventory tracking

Omnichannel fulfillment, of course, works only when you have at least one physical location. This could be a store or chain of stores, a warehouse with a small area to experience the product, or a dedicated experience center. Your platform should be engineered to provide accurate, real-time inventory tracking and visibility to enhance convenience. Using the right tools and real-time analytics, your retailer’s fulfillment system helps you track and manage order statuses, workflows, locations handling and more.

Multi-store management

If you operate multiple physical locations, ensure that your eCommerce platform allows you to connect your POS inventory across all locations. You need to provide multi-store inventory visibility to customers, so that they can visit the nearest store with availability for their purchases, pickups or returns. They should also know whether or not the store accepts returns of products purchased online or if any restrictions apply.

Which is the right eCommerce platform for BOPIS?

You need a flexible, robust platform with strong real-time inventory management and mobile shopping functionality. Fortunately, these kinds of fulfillment options are increasingly being supported by all the major eCommerce platforms. This includes platforms like Adobe Commerce, open-SaaS solutions like BigCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud and SaaS solutions such as Shopify. There are various other features also available on each eCommerce platform, which could help you select the right one.

While all the modern eCommerce platforms offer features that support BOPIS, Salesforce Marketing Cloud includes elements such as the Journey Builder to allow you to map out the omnichannel workflow. SFCC B2C Commerce Geolocation API powers the store locator function and Store Inventory Data records availability of SKUs by store. Similarly, Adobe Commerce has recently announced advanced BOPIS capabilities including an API Mesh to integrate your stores and touchpoints, search, inventory management and other assets. This helps developers monitor, secure, and scale their APIs in a low-code or no-code environment.

Real-world examples of omnichannel fulfillment support

Major retailers provide various fulfillment opportunities. For example, Target offers BOPIS capabilities, through which customers can order items from or their mobile app and collect them at their nearest store. Target’s Drive Up solution notifies users when the order is ready for pickup. Walmart also offers curb-side and in-store pickups for customers who have ordered online via their app.

Smaller online and offline retailers are offering BOPIS too. For example, one of BigCommerce’s third-party applications (provided by Randem Retail) works with the platform to make BOPIS more affordable and accessible. It connects with your POS inventory across several locations. It also supports pre-built connections to omnichannel tools by BigCommerce) and will soon come with APIs for custom integrations as well. Several smaller businesses have been leveraging this tool to optimize omnichannel fulfillment such as BOPIS.

BOPIS, ROPIS, BORIS, and other omnichannel fulfillment options are the future of order delivery. In 2021, the BOPIS segment of the online retail industry crossed USD 243 billion. Almost two-thirds of US shoppers used BOPIS in the first half of FY22-23, and almost half of BOPIS users have found that they add more items during pickup in-store. Take advantage of this growing consumer trend, and the benefits that it presents to retailers.

Are you interested in offering omnichannel fulfillment on your online retail store? Ask us about the right tools and platforms to provide BOPIS and other fulfillment options to your customers.