The Candid Voice in Retail Technology: Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

The Reality Of BOPIS & BORIS: Knowing Is Half The Battle

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As shoppers, we’re all becoming quite used to buying online and picking things up at stores these days. We spend as much time as we want in the comfort of the online world, picking out goods at our leisure, but once we go through the process of masking and gloving up, the urgency is on: the goal is to be in the store for the least amount of time as possible. By now – we expect those goods to be waiting for us the moment we arrive. But for retailers, this is a logistical nightmare. Someone has to run around and grab those individual items – manually. And that means labor. This is clearly even more of an issue for FMCG retailers, whose baskets may feature dozens of items. Retailers may like the concept of BOPIS driving consumers to their stores, but so far, the result has been a labor, cost, and a logistical melée.

At the same time, candid conversation with any honest retailer will reveal that properly handling the return of goods in stores that were bought online (BORIS) presents just as many labor, process, and financial issues. As a result? Most are currently hacking their way to hosting BORIS capabilities in their stores; but these are far from optimized processes to date. Retailers still have a lot of work to do to optimize the in-store processes of handling returns from the online channel.

So as it turns out, our recent research into the realities behind effective BOPIS and BORIS implementation has proven to be quite timely.

A Glimpse Of What’s To Come

Winners are certain of one thing to their core: if they are going to get past their current roadblocks in order to successfully embrace such customer favorites as Buy Online/Pickup In Store and Buy Online/Return in store, it’s going to take some serious rethinking – and retooling – of their current processes.

Figure: Knowing: Still Half The Battle


Source: RSR Research, April 2020

And as of now, all retailers are pretty much in the same boat. The demand for BOPIS and BORIS has come on so recently – and so strongly – that no retailer has truly perfected it. With that said: the figure above shows us exactly why Winners will eventually get there, and long before their average and underperforming peers ever do. If knowing is half the battle, Winners know not to get hung up on things like “creating a customer service mandate” (reported by 40% of average and lagging retailers – nearly twice as much as Winners). Customers aren’t falling for BOPIS and BORIS out of affection for a high-touch shopping experience. Just the opposite: these trends reveal a direct reaction to just how badly most retailers have gaffed the customer service mandate in the past. After years of taking labor out of stores (effectively leaving customers to solve their own problems), most retailers have steadily prioritized cost-cutting over service opportunities. Now, it turns out, the tables have turned, and customers’ embrace of smart technologies has enabled them to solve their own problems in ways that are both frustrating – and costly – to retailers.

We invite you to read the full report. It’s as timely as can be, and is available here.


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Articles & Opinions May 5, 2020
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