Many retailers have implemented buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) strategies without realizing it. Although the name invokes the fears of coding and advanced systems, it refers to the process of buying a product online and picking it up in the store, i.e., BOPIS. This concept gives supply chains a non-traditional means of fulfilling orders and moving product. In addition, it solves critical challenges in last-mile strategies, reduces costs associated with inventory management, and more. Shippers in need of cost reductions and better last-mile service should consider implementing a BOPIS strategy.
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Challenges of Today’s Last-Mile Strategies
Today’s last-mile strategies are the result of traditional supply chains moving product from a vendor or from a manufacturer to consumers’ homes. Yet, the places where consumers want to have a package delivered have changed. Yes, they still can shop in brick-and-mortar locations, but the most significant part of a BOPIS strategy derives from its impact to existing supply chain challenges. For example, with e-commerce on the rise, shippers need a way to overcome the following challenges without increasing costs.
- It is almost impossible to compete with Amazon. Amazon continues to offer extremely low shipping and product pricing, as well as an endless variety of products. The only way for established, brick-and-mortar businesses to compete is to provide an experience that blends both online and traditional shopping, including the ability to BOPIS.
- Customers expect delivery on their terms, regardless of company policies. Customers utilizing BOPIS have a faster alternative to returns than shipping back to a warehouse. This convenience increases the appeal of BOPIS.
- Free shipping is a standard, not the exception. Customers do not want to pay for shipping, but their expectation for fast shipping is increasing. Instead of trying to send products from a warehouse, the same items may be sitting on store shelves, ripe for the picking for BOPIS purchases.
- Security of consumers homes presents challenges with last-mile delivery. Advancements in technologies for home and personal safety are great, but they can increase the risk and difficulty of last-mile delivery.
How BOPIS Will Neutralize Costs for Retailers
Consider these ways BOPIS neutralizes costs for retailers managing the order fulfillment and shipping process:
- It reduces carrying costs.
- BOPIS takes advantage of existing workers.
- Innovative fulfillment strategies improve customer service through real-world interactions.
- Effectively eliminates costs associated with shipping to consumer homes.
- Shippers reduce necessary warehouse space.
- It gives customers options for fulfillment.
- BOPIS-enabled systems are mobile-ready.
- BOPIS creates additional up selling opportunities.
Tips for Creating and Implementing BOPIS Fulfillment Strategies
According to Shopify, supply chain leaders should follow these steps in creating and implementing BOPIS fulfillment strategies:
- Gain support from team members and upper-level management.
- Integrate warehouse/distribution center systems with in-store systems.
- Take advantage of the convenience factor.
- Eliminate unnecessary warehouses.
- Fill orders with in-store stock when possible, including notifying customers of BOPIS-eligible items in the store today.
- Consolidate warehouse space.
Create Your BOPIS-Driven Processes
BOPIS-driven processes rely on a complex network of connected systems and overarching dedication to provide the right product, sell it for the right price, and get it during the next visit to the physical location. There will always be demand for ship-to-home purchases, but retailers can and should take advantage of BOPIS last-mile strategies to avoid unnecessary expenses and increase customer service.