Agile Retail: Is BOPIS here to stay?

How do we adapt signage to ease transition to curbside pickup? 

by Preetika Gupta

In a changing retail landscape, it has never been more clear that retailers need to be agile. The pandemic has forced retailers to reinvent themselves and adapt to changing shopper behavior. Store closures due to the restrictions on public gatherings have forced many retailers to implement BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In Store) offerings on an accelerated timeline. 

Big retailers who had the foresight to build these systems are now at a major advantage (Best Buy, Walmart, Kroger) over smaller retailers adapting on the fly. As the pickup process becomes a reason for choosing one store over another, retailers need to focus on streamlining the experience.

“BOPIS grew 195% in May 2020”

BOPIS blows up

According to Adobe Analytics (Digital Economy Index), online shopping spending jumped $52 billion and BOPIS grew 195% in May 2020. While BOPIS activity is starting to level off now, a recent shopper study from Adobe Analytics indicated that 23% of shoppers still prefer curbside pickup to home delivery. 90% of retailers across categories are planning to implement BOPIS by 2021 – and we’re not just talking about grocery and Big Box brands. Starbuck’s is rebalancing their fleet, which will feature fewer cafes and more take-out/BOPIS only locations. Tanger Factory Outlet Centers have introduced a program that enables shoppers to purchase from multiple retailers for a singular curbside pickup or home delivery.

What happened to browsing?

We know that online ordering is fundamentally different from physically browsing a store. Brands that exist and thrive in high-browse categories are now at a severe disadvantage as products are often displayed by popularity.  For example, yogurt shoppers are typically brand loyal, but the craft beer section is about browsing and brand exploration. For brick and mortar stores, leveraging displays for promotions was a simple and easy way to drive sales and increase impulse purchases, especially on high-margin products. Without the physical traffic, impulse and browse categories will continue to see decline.

90% of retailers across categories are planning to implement BOPIS by 2021

Optimizing BOPIS offerings to build the basket

Aside from what is happening behind the e-curtain, a physical and behavioral shift is taking place outside the store. How and where shoppers are moving, congregating and dwelling are changing, and design strategies need to fully support both the shopper experience and the retailer’s ability to maximize sales. 

Store vestibules, pickup areas, sidewalks, curbs and parking lots now need more thoughtful configuration to accommodate growing usage and encourage impulse shopping in a new way. What if a BOPIS pickup zone featured a car queue corral complete with promotional signs and impulse displays at car window height? What would that do to impulse sales? At the simplest level, are your signs designed for the right distances, heights, lighting conditions? 

Be ready to test, learn, and adjust

Aside from growth driven by health and safety concerns, convenience is the main selling point for BOPIS. But if you look harder, BOPIS also enables consumers to have more control – even more control than ordering online for same-day delivery. The expanding ability to purchase in different ways provides shoppers an enhanced set of levers to pull to their own advantage.

Most retailers struggle with how to connect BOPIS with the in-store experience. There is data to suggest BOPIS customers are going into store, but it is unclear why or which categories they are seeking out. As behaviors adapt, there will be a need to redesign how the grocery store is built. 

Designing and testing new shopping experiences is the core of Envirosell’s DNA. Let’s talk about how we’ll help you get in front of the curve.

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