Evolution of Buy Online Pickup Instore (BOPIS or BOPUS)

by | Jan 25, 2018

The future of buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS or BOPUS) is changing as retail giants continue to innovate and reexamine what retail shopping of the future is going to look like.

In the past, BOPIS was fairly straightforward. Consumers online to their favorite retail chain that offers BOPIS, order a DVD and have it waiting for them to pick up in the store in a few hours. It saved them two to four or more days of waiting for delivery, which was important if they needed that item for a gift or movie night with the family. It also gave them incentive to go into the retail store because they knew the retailer had the item and they could expect to leave with the product they want.

If the store had the item, they would just place it behind the customer service desk for pickup. If they didn’t and another store had it, they could ship it to the chosen store and have it available for the next day. This was in the days before free two-day shipping on some Amazon offerings and all Amazon Prime products, so this was impressive.

But buy online pickup in store is evolving into an entirely different animal. While the concept is the same and the name still holds true, there have been improvements, upgrades and further developments.

How BOPUS is evolving

For example, some stores are promising to have BOPUS orders ready within an hour. And Walmart has its BOPIS service available 24 hours a day where available. They’re also offering discounts on BOPIS orders, and are piloting programs to allow EBT benefits users to participate in the service. Finally, they have also offered curbside pickup since early 2016 and opened its 1,000th Online Grocery Pickup location in September. Meanwhile Target has begun to roll out curbside pickup in some of their stores as well.

Speaking of Target, they’re also beginning to open 20,000 square foot “small-format” stores on college campuses around the country. According to a RetailDive.com article, Target’s goal was to have 30 small format stores by the end of 2017. They want to reach college students by offering popular college items and have them ready for pickup, even weeks later. Students can “school shop” over the summer, order bulky items, and pick them up on campus instead of driving the new furniture to school.

Amazon and BOPIS

Amazon has launched its own BOPIS service via new pickup sites around the country, especially at universities like University of Central Florida and University of California Berkeley. And their recent purchase of Whole Foods has given them pickup sites in every Whole Foods store in the country.

To keep up with Amazon, Target recently acquired the same-day delivery platform Shipt for $550 million. Shipt leverages a network of more than 20,000 shoppers who pick customer orders and then deliver them to the customer’s home. Think of it as Uber for groceries. While not strictly a BOPIS play, we are curious whether Shipt will also deliver Target’s non-grocery goods in their 72 U.S. markets.

BOPIS has grown leaps and bounds, as new technologies emerge, customers continue to utilize BOPIS and push for new service offerings, new configurations and even faster delivery times. We’re looking forward to see how BOPIS continues to evolve within the retail landscape, as well as the effect its growth will have.

If you’d like to learn more about how your retail brand can benefit from BOPIS, or even whether distributors can participate in the system as well, please visit the SPS Commerce website for additional information, or request to speak with one of our retail tech representatives.

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Brandon Pierre

Brandon Pierre

Customer Success Executive at SPS Commerce
As a customer success executive at SPS, Brandon Pierre works alongside many retailers and suppliers to develop strategies to address their merchandising and supply chain business objectives. With more than 14 years in the buying organization at major retailers, he has experienced first-hand the opportunities of the digital era and how technology can transform the consumer experience through improved retailer and supplier connections.
Brandon Pierre

1 Comment

  1. Ben

    You article was very informative. Retail is definitely moving toward convenience vs social interaction.

    Reply

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