StellaService Study: BOPIS Isn’t a Big Time Saver for Shoppers

Enabling shoppers to buy an item online and pick it up in a local store (BOPIS) is part of the strategy for many omnichannel retailers. BOPIS gives shoppers confidence they will find the item they need in-store, while retailers can leverage local inventory for online sales.

The initiative gets products in the hands of shoppers faster when compared to an order that needs to be shipped, but it’s not necessarily an improvement over simply walking into a store to find and buy an item.

StellaService analysts conducted a study to evaluate the BOPIS experience to determine which retailers provided the fastest and most seamless results for consumers.

In order to provide an accurate comparison, all purchases were made in the South region during the week of 10/27/14. The following retailers were evaluated: Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Sears, Staples, Target, Toys ‘R Us and Walmart.

Shoppers ordered items online for each of the 11 retailers and then tracked the corresponding notification from the retailer. Shoppers then visited two separate locations for each of the 11 retailers included in the study and conducted a ‘shop’ at each location. A ‘shop’ consisted of a side-by-side test of one standard in-store purchase and one BOPIS purchase. During each side-by-side test, shoppers entered the stores at precisely the same time. The standard in-store purchase was included in the study to provide additional points of comparison.

StellaService found that BOPIS has three major factors that determine how quickly and easy the overall experience is:

  • How quickly a retailer notifies the consumer that the item is available for pick up

  • How easy it is to find the proper area to pick up the item once the shopper arrives to the store

  • How easy it is for the clerk to locate and present the item to the shopper once they’ve arrived to the checkout desk

BOPIS Versus In-Store Breakdown

On average, BOPIS shoppers spent 5.4 minutes between entering the store and checking out. Shoppers spent the least amount of time in Office Depot (2 minutes), the longest in Home Depot and Macy’s (8.5 minutes each).

Standard in-store shops took 7 minutes on average between entering the store and checking out. Shoppers spent the least amount of time in Target (3.5 minutes), the longest in Sears (16.5 minutes).

For the 11 retailers evaluated, only Home Depot, Macy’s and Nordstrom had faster average in-store shops versus BOPIS.

Buying Online

StellaService shoppers purchased each online item and then tracked how quickly a retailer responded via email.

Items were available for pick up in just over an hour on average. The longest wait time for availability confirmation came from Macy’s (2h 26m) and Sears (2h 20m). The shortest wait for availability confirmation came from Best Buy and Lowe’s (10m).

The following retailers also communicated availability in under an hour on average:

  • Home Depot: 25 min

  • Staples: 28 min

  • Toys ‘R Us: 30 min

  • Office Depot: 52 min

Home Depot was the only retailer that offered the ability to schedule a pick up.

Finding the BOPIS Checkout Area In the Store

The study showed that there is a considerable amount of variability for how retailers guide BOPIS shoppers to the appropriate area to pick-up their item. Those that provided some sort of guidance when entering the story were most helpful. Best Buy, Lowe’s and Target all had BOPIS pick-up areas immediately visible upon entering the store.

Nordstrom let shoppers visit any service desk, regardless of product type. For instance, a shopper could pick up shoes at the makeup counter. The associate called to have the item brought from another part of the store.

The Process At the Checkout Area

For BOPIS shoppers, 58% of their time in-store was spent at the checkout desk (3.1 minutes on average). For context, the checkout process for in-store shoppers was more expedient – representing only 15% of their in-store time (1.1 minutes).

“These initiatives are early for many retailers, so they’re still perfecting the process,” said Kevon Hills, StellaService vice president of research. “If BOPIS proves popular with consumers, you can expect retailers to continue to invest in a more efficient process.”

Previously on Bright:

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