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BOPIS & BORIS: The Profitability Twins

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At last month’s NRF Big Show, one of the topics we heard a great deal about was how vendors are helping retailers with buy online/pickup in store and buy online/return in store capabilities. If you missed it, we did a full recap of the show, as well, which is now up on Vimeo.

But as it relates to BOPIS & BORIS, we’ve become so enamored of the possibilities they offer store-based retailers that we’ve affectionately started referring to them as “The Profitability Twins.”

We knew we’d be launching a survey by that title right after NRF concluded. What we didn’t know was how much our conversations on the show floor would reshape the vision we’d been putting together in the months leading up to NRF. But as online retailers offer faster and faster shipping, Buy Online/Pickup In Store is becoming so popular that the nuances of executing it well were the talk of the town. And despite the challenges, retailers are embracing it as a means to leverage one of the few things they have that Amazon doesn’t – STORES – and compete in a most immediate way.

At the same time, legions of consumers are normalizing shopping behaviors that not too long ago would have caused retailers to “fire” them as shoppers: buying troves of products online, only to use their own living rooms as the point of decision and returning the majority of items to their nearest store. Again, while many still perceive returning to a store easier than boxing up and shipping goods back to the online source, this trend capitalizes on the shopper’s immediacy.

While both trends get shoppers into the store (a good thing, indeed) both also create VAST logistical complexity for retailers. BOPIS even more so than BORIS, as a lot of “returns” so far are just sitting in a back room somewhere (a lot easier to “fake” than true pick-up-in-store capabilities).

Here’s the thing, though: retailers know they need to figure ways to ease the pain, because BORIS & BOPIS are a shining opportunity for profitability in the Amazon-dominated world. So we’re launching a survey to find out what are the best steps retailers see to get there? And what are the biggest challenges they perceive coming at them from shoppers?

At the same time, we’re considering surveying shoppers to see what they think matters most, and how retailers are meeting their needs.

This will be the first time we’ve ever conducted a study like this, and we are extremely excited about it – but we want to get it right. If NRF taught us anything, it’s that there are complexities and costs associated with BORIS & BOPIS (BOPIS, in particular) that we wouldn’t have thought to include in our line of questioning prior to having such extensive conversations with the vendor community.

So if any of you, our Retail Paradox Weekly readers, have strong feelings and valuable experience with these capabilities, please reach out to us here. We’d be happy to share a copy of the survey we’re planning to launch and would love to have your feedback!

 

 


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Articles & Opinions February 11, 2020
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