What's Your BOPIS Strategy?

Global marketers gathered at the recent Cannes Lions Awards festival to celebrate the best of marketing creativity and unveil their plans to engage consumers with their brands. Yet one topic that didn’t seem to make it to this year’s soiree was the rapid growth and effectiveness of BOPIS marketing (buy online, pick up in store). 

There was so little discussion regarding BOPIS it seems these same marketers have forgotten that when building an effective “horizontal” marketing strategy, you can’t overlook the fact a huge majority of consumers, including 62% of boomers and 58% of Gen Z, still prefer to purchase products in retail stores, according to a Salesforce study. 

Why was there so little discussion of BOPIS? My immediate suspicion is there is nothing really “sexy” about BOPIS. It doesn’t have ten million followers, nor does it seem to make sense to modern marketers obsessed with over personalization of the customer experience.



During an earnings call, Art Peck, CEO of the Gap, said that “[the customer] wants more to do than just walk in, pick a product up and exit. She wants to find something online, pick it up in the store, be checked out in the fitting room, [and] place an online order in a store.”

According to Mintel, two-thirds of customers (66%) and another one-fifth (18%) of shoppers would like to try BOPIS. Why is BOPIS so appealing?

Customers like the idea of BOPIS because it provides them with the same “experience” other channels give them, convenience and savings. No wonder 68% of consumers choose BOPIS for its ability to deliver their products to them without shipping costs, according to Mintel.

Whether it’s supermarkets offering customers online ordering with in-store pick-up — a trend that nearly doubled in 2018 — or larger retailers like Walmart, Target, and Lowe’s leveraging their data and AI systems to accelerate the BOPIS process for customers, it’s hard to ignore the impact on their bottom lines. At Target, for example, investment in BOPIS, ecommerce and shipping logistics helped deliver better than expected Q1 2019 earnings. 

Joseph McFarland,executive vice president, stores, Lowe’s Corporation, told RISNews that 60% of online purchases were picked up in stores, “which reinforces the power of our omnichannel model.” McFarland believes advancements made with in-store technology, such as the new smart devices for Lowe’s associates, have contributed to vastly improving BOPIS operations.  

At Target, Drive Up service is now available at 1,250 of the retailers’ 1,851 store locations. Based on current estimates, by 2021 nearly nine out of 50 retailers will offer BOPIS to their customers, according to Mintel. 

What’s the payback? In addition to challenging other ecommerce platforms, nearly one out of four BOPIS customers are upsold on other products while in store. At Walmart, shoppers that used both online and in-store channels spend nearly twice as much as single channel shoppers, the company’s CEO, Doug McMillon, told investors during a recent earnings call.

We believe it is critical to look horizontally across channels to determine how they work together to build a brand with customers. Smart agencies will need to ask their clients what’s the best way for them to maximize their BOPIS retail strategy. 

If your agency isn’t asking you that question, maybe they need to put down the pâté and get back to work on building your brand.

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