The Buy Online, Pickup In-Store Phenomenon (BOPUS) is Here to Stay

Hybrid retailers are making strides as the ecommerce industry becomes more integrated. Unanimously, 81% of consumers made an online purchase last year and picked it up at a brick and mortar store. A recent eMarketer study also finds that 40% of consumers view Buy Online Pick Up In-Store (BOPUS) as a necessary commodity that every retailer should offer and a “very valuable” aspect to online shopping overall.

How is BOPUS changing the way retailers approach the shopping experience? Here’s what you need to know.

Why Consumers Love BOPUS

Ecommerce is growing quickly. The numbers tell the whole story. As of last year, ecommerce accounted for approximately 9% of all retail sales worldwide, according to Statista.

Given that today’s leading retail brands adapted to the hybrid ecommerce-brick-and-mortar model decades ago, it’s only natural for consumers to want to utilize click and collect services.

The primary reason why? Because they get the item they purchased online faster (as opposed to waiting for them to arrive via shipping) and they can return in-store more expeditiously if the purchase doesn’t suit them after the fact (when buyer’s remorse sets in).

The consumer appreciation for BOPUS is perhaps best described by eMarketer’s vice president of forecasting, Martín Utreras, who says:

“BOPUS provides tangible benefits to both consumers and retailers. Consumers get convenience, instant gratification and avoid shipping costs. Retailers reduce operational costs, and it gives them the opportunity to bring customers back to physical stores for additional purchase opportunities.”

Who’s Using Click & Collect?

The big question at hand is: Just who is using BOPUS and how common is this service model? According to Business Insider, 70% of consumers who shop online in the U.S. are using the click and collect model at any given time.

What’s more, 62% of Americans have used this type of service multiple times over the past year, and that number continues to climb as more retailers offer the service. The main obstacle is that retailers are not adopting to this model fast enough to match consumer demand. In fact, most retailers don’t offer BOPUS without a two-day window for pickup, thus defeating the entire point of having this service model in place.

New statistics for BOPUS in 2020 find that 39% of consumers use BOPUS to save money on shipping and increase the speed by which they can claim their purchase. Comparably, 28% say that it’s a convenient way to shop online.

But here’s where the numbers get saucier: 85% of consumers are encouraged to make a purchase in-store when they’re just stopping into the brick and mortar location to pick-up a click and collect order. And 45% say that when the purchases are incentivized with special offers and savings, they’re more likely to buy and make repeat purchases.

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Presumably, most brands that are household names are offering click and collect services. According to a Reuters report, the main reason why big box brands like Best Buy, Home Depot, Target and Walmart fare so well with BOPUS is because around 70% of the country lives within 10-20 minutes of a given retail location.

Other stores you may not be aware of also offer click and collect services. These include entities like Kohl’s, Whole Foods, CVS, Walgreens, Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, Dillard’s, and countless others (a number estimated to surpass 5,000 retail locations nationwide at the moment).

It’s safe to presume, that in most cases, if the retailer you like offers an online shopping portal, they’re not going to turn down extra business and a 15%-49% chance to gain an even more valuable, additional in-store conversion by not offering BOPUS.

More Statistics on BOPUS

  • 67% of U.S. consumers have used BOPUS in the past year.
  • Click and collect results in a 15%-49% chance for an additional in-store conversion at time of pickup.
  • 10% of all ecommerce sales will be BOPUS by 2025.
  • 75% of shoppers that use BOPUS plan to use it again in the future.
  • More than 90% of retailers will offer click and collect services by 2022.
  • 77% of consumers use BOPUS to be able to see, touch and use the product first.
  • 65% of consumers use BOPUS to eliminate the cost of shipping.
  • 30% of consumers use BOPUS due to its sheer convenience.
  • 23% of consumers use BOPUS because they can immediately return a product they don’t want.
  • Nearly 40% of retailers say that BOPUS helps them attract more in-store shoppers.
  • 13% of retailers use BOPUS to compete with giants like Amazon.
  • 32% of retailers use BOPUS to gain a competitive advantage.
  • 16% of retailers use BOPUS to attract millennial shoppers.

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The Race to Embrace BOPUS

Retailers that fail to embrace the BOPUS phenomenon are already alienating consumers and can only make matters worse the more they delay. A Retail Dive report from 2013 highlighted this early on (the demand is much greater now) by pointing out that studies (at that time) found that:

“78 percent of consumers consider in-store pickup of online orders either important or very important, proving that the benefits of in-store pickup are clear.”

Today, that number still stands firm, with eMarketer reporting that a 2019 survey found that 78% of consumers still wanted to buy online and pick up in store if the option were presented to them—estimating that more than 5,000 click collect locations existed in the US (as of 2018).

While the ship-to store option is popular, it still requires that the consumer wait for the product to be delivered to the store. After which, the consumer is forced to go to the store to retrieve a product they could have otherwise just had shipped to their front door. Naturally, click and collect is the preferred choice for today’s consumer.

With these factoids in mind, it’s easier to understand why BOPUS is quickly becoming a mainstay for brick and mortar retailers that have online storefronts. As consumer demand increases, one can only expect for this hybrid e-tail model to improve over time and become even more convenient than it already is.

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