When I learned that one of my favorite stores had introduced the purchase option to buy online and pick up in the store (BOPIS), I was delighted.
Then I tried it.
I expected to be able to pick up my purchase quickly, bypassing the checkout lines. Instead, I was directed to the back of the store, where I waited 20 minutes while an employee tracked down my order. After a few more similar experiences, I gave up and went back to my old way of shopping.
Both BOPIS and its counterpart BORIS — buy online and return in the store — present remarkable opportunities for retailers to connect their online and brick-and-mortar channels. Such initiatives turn physical stores into hubs that give retailers an edge over online-only competitors. But these types of programs create an expectation on the part of customers that their experience of switching between website and store will be seamless. And when retailers bungle the execution, customers become very frustrated.
By taking the following steps, retailers can ensure that BORIS and BOPIS initiatives help connect customers to their brands, rather than push them away.
If retailers are going to let customers order products online and pick them up in the store, they simply must ensure that they have those products in stock. That’s true not only for customers who buy online, but also for traditional shoppers who come to the store looking for the same items.