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Boost sales with Gen Z this holiday (and beyond) with BOPIS

by Stephanie H.
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    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. 

    BOPIS: Convergence of physical and digital

    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. 

    BOPIS extends retail shopping opportunities 

    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. 

    BOPIS is coming to town 

    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:

    1. December 14 is the cutoff date for retail ground delivery shipping. For retailers, this is an omnichannel silver bullet. According to Adobe, consumers are 19% more likely to convert at retailers who offer BOPIS in the week leading up to Christmas.

      Amid the final countdown to December 25th, your customers can shop well past the traditional cutoff date and you can extend the longevity of your retail revenue. So, be sure to reassure last-minute Z shoppers by pointing out the obvious advantages of hassle and worry-free BOPIS.

      Word of caution. Adobe found that gifts bought on Christmas Eve are 18% more likely to be returned. Help Gen Z see the emotional and financial advantages of shopping (mostly) early to minimize your costs associated with returns. 
    2. BOPIS can help get Zers into your  store by serving up incentives to forgo home delivery. Options include the obvious: Offer a persistent and visible discount for in-store pickup on your site, in your emails, and on any social ads; if appropriate, promote BOGOs, even gift-wrapping services. You could also offer a discount on future BOPIS orders.
    3. A whopping 82% of BOPIS consumers shop for additional items when picking up their orders. Don’t drop the ball once you do get Gen Z in the store. Start by making sure that your site provides accurate, real-time visibility into available inventory at the the Zer’s preferred location. The last thing you want your shopper to experience (especially at the high holiday season) is the item they bought online being out of stock in person.
    4. BOPIS helps minimize shopping stress and anxiety, and in turn, allows shoppers to enjoy more time with friends and family during the holidays. And, not to be a scrooge, but BOPIS ensures that gift deliveries aren’t nabbed by a porch pirate. According to Shorr Packaging, in 2017, over 31 percent of all Americans had their Amazon package stolen. According to August Home and an Edelman Intelligence study, 11 million homeowners have had a package stolen.
    5. A clever in-store BOPIS display can make shoppers feel unique. No one likes to feel like a number (ahem, behemoth online retailers), and a little extra cheer (and attention to detail) goes a long way. Make the most of Gen Z’s in-store experience by playing to your strengths. If you offer a unique product, showcase it. Stage a mini pop-up of featured items near pickup. 

    Pro tips for retailers offering BOPIS

    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).  

    The beauty (and promise) of BOPIS 

    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. 

      Download the report: Gen Z spending habits before and during COVID-19


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