Omnichannel fulfillment services have indubitably piqued the interest of today’s retail leaders; nearly one-third of the retail organizations we surveyed already support “buy online, pick up in store” (BOPIS) functionality or have plans to implement the technology by the end of next month.  However, proponents of omnichannel fulfillment are starting to recognize that simply offering services like BOPIS does not in itself lift the bottom line. eBusiness professionals must actively ensure that these initiatives are driving real profits for their business, leaving no stone unturned in their quest to maximize conversion and minimize costs.

In our new report Abolish Abandon Rates For In-Store Pickup, Forrester explores how BOPIS order abandonment—or situations in which BOPIS users cancel or fail to collect their purchase from the store—threatens the success of these programs due to lost sales, unnecessary layaway of inventory, wasted associate time, and sunk interchange fees. We provide insights into why and how frequently customers abandon their orders, as well as the actions you can take to increase BOPIS profitability. Our research indicates that:

  • "Buy online, pick up in store" no-shows are more common than you think. BOPIS users canceling or failing to collect their online purchases from the store is a shockingly frequent occurrence. Indeed, 29% of US online adults who have used “buy online, pick up in store” services in the past three months have abandoned at least one BOPIS purchase in this time frame. And if your company targets Millenials, the prognosis is even worse: 38% of BOPIS users ages 18-24 and 48% of users ages 25-34 have failed to collect at least one BOPIS purchase within the past three months.  
  • Retailers can mitigate abandonment by employing operational best practices. Tightening BOPIS operations can help to retain would-be abandoners. Start by incentivizing store associates to prioritize the picking and packing of BOPIS orders; the longer it takes to notify the customer that her order is ready for pickup, the more time she has to second-guess her purchase or buy the item in a way that's more convenient. Investing in technology and processes that improve inventory accuracy, as well as task management tools for in-store associates, will also help to expedite BOPIS fulfillment.
  • Strategically planned communications help to enhance the BOPIS experience. Delivering the right cadence and content within communications at different points in the shopper's BOPIS journey is key to improving the customer experience and reducing no-show rates. This means over-communicating with customers to help them understand the process (including setting realistic expectations around the time it will take to complete their order), offering multiple channels of communication (customers should have the option to opt into SMS alerts if they prefer text message communications over emails), and continuously reminding users of the unique value they receive from BOPIS (i.e. by offering customers special BOPIS promotions or having access to “BOPIS only” parking spots).

Return rates are an issue every retailer looks to minimize, but launching new omnichannel capabilities may have caused them to take their eye off the ball. Feel free to share, recommend, or comment in the space below.