Millennials and Gen Z’s differ in a surprising number of ways, but some of the most important differences for brands come from how they behave as buyers.
Brick-and-mortars have cause for celebration—that is, if you’ve got a solid BOPIS scheme (aka Buy Online Pick-up In Store).
So, the shopping apocalypse didn’t happen. You know, that time when brick-and-mortars feared that online retail would put them out of business, and no one would ever want to enter a physical store again. And, while you can’t deny that online sales have contributed to the demise of some retailers, (we’re sorry, Geoffrey the Giraffe), for the most part, that has not happened at all.
Consumers have spoken, and they want to be given the freedom to shop in more than one way. They want options. And for Gen Z, that means on- and offline. They want choice, speed and convenience when it comes to how, where and when they get their goods.
One way brands can support an omnichannel experience is with buy online pick up in store (BOPIS) or click and collect. We’re still in the early stages of BOPIS, but it’s gaining popularity among Gen Z, the coveted audience with $143 billion of spending power. The timing is right. More and more frequently, Gen Z shops online, and soon after hitting the ‘Complete Payment’ button, they head into the store to pick up their purchase—in person. That’s BOPIS.
A 2019 survey of 1,000 Generation Z shoppers found that more than half (58%) have used BOPIS for a purchase. When choosing between two equal retailers for the same item, 60% said the option for BOPIS was definitely a factor in deciding where to spend their money.
For brands, that’s a hard-to-ignore data point, particularly with the holiday shopping season looming large.
But why is Gen Z attracted to BOPIS? If you answered ‘instant gratification,’ you’re right. Zers don’t like to wait; nor do they mind trekking into the store to get their goods. Sometimes, the already speedy shipping that online shopping affords isn’t quite fast enough. Nearly one-third of Gen Z respondents said as much, citing that they want their items within a few hours, obviously much quicker than they can get them with online shopping.
Inconvenience came in as second among the top reasons for BOPIS. Whether it’s an indicator of poor time management or classic FOMO, per the survey, four in 10 Zers like BOPIS as a way to ensure the desired item was in stock before they headed to the store. Thirty percent cited needing something immediately, making BOPIS the antidote to last-minute shopping.
When it comes to BOPIS, brands can celebrate that online shopping hasn’t killed their business, and instead, embrace it for the opportunity that it is. In fact, when it comes to retail and points-of-purchase, brick and mortar might have a leg up over online-only retailers. According to the ETP Group, physical stores convert higher than online stores do. For online-only shoppers, the conversion rate is 3% but for in-store shoppers, the rate climbs from 35% up to 60%, depending on the store.
With that, BOPIS becomes an almost obvious choice, if not a necessity for retailers. And it makes sense. There really is no substitute for seeing a product in person, holding it in your hands, and trying it on before buying it. Only a brick-and-mortar (or offline) location can offer that. When you consider Gen Z’s penchant for instant gratification and the foot traffic that in-store pick up can drive, BOPIS gives brands a clear shot to increase in-store sales.
With the holidays fast approaching, brands should play to their strengths while appealing to Gen Z’s desire to BOPIS. Here are some reasons why you should give BOPIS a try:
While this advice applies year-round, it’s safe to assume emotions and crowds run particularly high in November and December. Make sure you have adequate staff to help your Z shoppers find their order quickly. Staff up to avoid long wait lines at BOPIS checkout—which could impact return BOPIS shoppers the other 10 months of the year.
While you’re at it, consider your store layout. Do you need to adjust it for holiday traffic? Make it obvious where customers should go to pick up their purchase, and use automated texts and emails to alert them when it’s ready (both opportunities to float offers that encourage in-store conversion).
This holiday season and beyond, give Gen Z the shopping experience they want by blending on- and off-line channels. When retailers deliver on the expected outcome of BOPIS—a convenient and efficient experience both online and in the store—you give them a reason to come inside and stay for a while. You may boost sales even further once you do.
Whether it’s turkey, tabbouleh, turmeric, or tofu, Gen Z has room in its heart (and stomach) for all of it this holiday season—and beyond.
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