5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Implementing BOPIS

If you have not already attempted to stand up a BOPIS program for your customers, then you have to read this. If you have, then you may find this article helps you trouble shoot what is going wrong.

What is BOPIS?

BOPIS refers to the combination of online and offline shopping, where customers make their purchase online yet still pick up the item from the store.  Last year, around one-third of the shoppers in the US opted to buy their products online and still pick them up from the store.  Please don’t just gloss over that last statistic because it’s an important one.  ONE out of THREE shoppers in the US has already used BOPIS.  You may have also heard BOPIS referred to as “Click and Collect”. It is a business model, where customers get the best of both worlds. They get the benefits of online shopping combined with the advantages offered by traditional shopping.

Is my inventory accurate?

In order to make sure your BOPIS launch is a good one, I cannot stress how important it is for you to have an accurate inventory. The last thing you want to have happened is for one of your new BOPIS customers to buy something from you, that you don’t actually have. If you have questions about your inventory, please feel free to go here and read more on ways to make sure your inventory is accurate.

Is my accurate inventory online?

Now that we know we have an accurate inventory, it’s time to make sure that inventory is available online. The easiest way to do this is to make sure your Point of Sale is integrated into your eCommerce website. A majority of the websites I have worked with that utilize Magento, Shopify, Big Commerce, etc. do have these integrations available, just reach out to your partner that manages your POS and they should be able to help you. If you are in the process of building a website and you have not confirmed with your POS supplier that it is compatible, please do so. Integrating your POS to your website will be critical to your ability to offer BOPIS.

What products should be available?

This is entirely up to you, but in the end the BOPIS available inventory should be left up to your customers. In the world of Plant Nurseries and Garden Center stores there are a multitude of products that your consumers may want to pick out for themselves. But don’t let common sense get in the way of good commerce because you never really know. When I first started using Walmart’s BOPUS, I never purchased fruit and vegetables, but now I have them on every single order. Just remember that what your offering is the best service, so my advice is to start with high velocity products that require little configuration.

Do I have the right components?

The first three questions imply that you need a Point of Sale (POS) and an Ecommerce Website which are tightly integrated. In addition you will want Handheld scanner(s). This will allow you to go through your customer’s order, notify them of substitutions, and scan items. In the end, you can even have the customer sign off on the order via the handheld. Don't forget about the PARKING SPACE. A designated parking space for BOPIS customers will help you market it, as well as provide a quick in and out for your BOPIS customers which is typically very important.

Do I have the right caliber staff ?

You really should have at least one able-bodied employee to oversee picking orders and if necessary that same person can receive the orders, fulfill them, and deliver them to the clerk. I also recommend hiring for this role. You will be looking for someone who is naturally empathic and who can hussle. They must pick orders quickly and accurately and deliver them with care. If possible you will want them to help carry the good to the customer's vehicle. The extra touch will almost always create a loyal customer.