Retail Management

How To Avoid Chaos When Launching BOPIS Retail

By | 6 min read | Published

BOPIS can help your small store compete with large retailers.

Commerce trends that may have seemed temporary are becoming permanent fixtures in our stores.

One change that has quickly gained attention is buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), also known as click and collect. In May of 2020 alone, BOPIS sales rose 554%.

Through tactics like BOPIS, small and midsize brick-and-mortar businesses can compete with larger retailers that offer rapid shipping. Without a clear process to follow, however, setting up an entirely new order fulfillment structure can be intimidating.

So, what is the best way to prepare your business for BOPIS? There’s work to do in prepping your physical space, checking your website, training your teams, and supporting customers.


Prep your physical space

To prevent total chaos as you integrate BOPIS, setting aside appropriate in-store space to accommodate these shoppers is crucial.

Near the entrance of your store or your register, create easily identifiable areas for pickup orders. Use signage and other indicators to guide customers to the correct location as soon as they walk in the store.

Creating dedicated spaces for these shoppers allows customers with pickup orders to move in and out quickly and avoid slowing down your checkout lines.

If your BOPIS pickup location has a register available, leverage the opportunity to add some lower-cost products and popular items to the area. You may get a few people who browse while their order is collected, and add a small item or two to their purchase.

Another area to consider prepping is your storeroom or warehouse space. While your BOPIS orders use your existing inventory, as more customers take advantage of click-and-collect it can be easier to set aside an area to fill and hold these orders, rather than pulling them from the floor or inventory shelves at pickup.

You could even take things a step further and designate a back room area of items available for BOPIS so employees can quickly fill orders from this collection.


Prep your digital spaces

Most of a BOPIS customer’s experience happens on your website or in your app. To make sure you can provide a seamless experience between your digital and physical spaces, your online space must be ready to support orders and checkout pages.

Update your FAQs, marketing, ads, and related accounts/information to share these changes with customers (e.g., your Google store listing). Updating your online information and website architecture is step one, and getting the news out should quickly follow.

But digital space prep isn’t only customer-facing. You need to connect the backend tools that allow you to take and fill orders from multiple channels while keeping your inventory counts accurate.

Start by updating to a real-time inventory system. To implement this piece of infrastructure, your store’s POS system might need to be updated or changed.

Your POS should be able to scan orders out as customers pick them up. While you may be reluctant to invest in new tools, the time saved in tracking will be well worth any upfront costs. The ROI for your BOPIS tools goes beyond time savings, though, as it can also drive more foot traffic to your store through customer pickup and word of mouth.

A system like Shopify POS Pro makes it easy for customers to buy online, pickup in-store (Source)

Start by asking your current software provider what options you have; integration may be as simple as adding BOPIS functionality to your current POS or upgrading your account to a higher service tier.

The better you make the BOPIS experience, the more likely shoppers are to come back and buy from you again.


Prep your staff

Adding BOPIS/click-and-collect requires onboarding your entire team to the updated process. It’s important to provide training on these changes for all departments to ensure everyone is equally briefed on the latest offerings and workflows, as well as the tasks for their department.

That kind of learning requires a lot of planning and scheduled time. Consider scheduling additional employees in your store during regular hours so your team can cycle through training without harming your ability to support customers.

If you’re upgrading your POS or adding new software, ask your software provider for training assistance and materials. Some vendors will even send their own trainer to help you onboard, allowing you to save the time and effort of building out your own training program.

By ensuring your team understands these new processes and service offerings, you can prevent having to scramble to cover any fulfillment gaps or assuage unhappy customers.


Prep your audience

To ensure success in your BOPIS rollout, your customer experience must be seamless and intuitive. Your customer also needs to know about your new service offerings and how to take advantage of them.

With every update, consider whether the element you are introducing is easy for your audience to understand.

Are your marketing materials explicit about how they can take advantage of this new offering? Are your website and app instructions easy to follow? Have you clearly marked the area within your store for them to collect their order? What about how to find help if they need it?

Continue asking yourself these questions until you’re certain you’ve covered all of your customers’ needs.

Keep customers at the center of BOPIS work

BOPIS can help you expand your audience and provide a more comfortable way for customers to shop. Ordering online can be significantly more accessible for many types of customers, and when done correctly, can be a great way to expand your offerings.

This service is designed to make shopping at your store more enjoyable, so review products, training, and your space with an eye toward helping shoppers.

Whether trying to compete with next-day free shipping or appeal to a new audience, BOPIS can help boost your sales. It’s a valuable tool that will only continue to become more relevant with increased demand, so show customers you’re listening and ready to provide the eCommerce shopping options they want.

Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.

Looking for Retail Management Systems software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Retail Management Systems software solutions.

About the Author

Jake Rheude - Guest Contributor

Jake Rheude - Guest Contributor

Jake Rheude is the Vice President of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an eCommerce fulfillment warehouse born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.

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