With the accelerated demand for omnichannel services, retailers need to position themselves as modern technology leaders to capitalize on this year’s holiday season.
One in four U.S. and U.K. shoppers (42%) explicitly said they will leave a site if shipping options are limited or they don’t have a buy online pickup in-store option (BOPIS). Also noteworthy is that 35% of respondents said they are turned off by restrictive returns policies, according to the 2022 Holiday Shopping Report: Spending Trends & Impact, which polled 4,000 consumers.
How can retailers stand out from the competition? Retailers with omnichannel outlets have the greatest advantage, with 54% of consumers saying they’re likely to look at a product online and buy it in the store. An almost identical number (53%) are likely to look at a product in-store and buy it online. The bottom line? Convenience is key to winning customer loyalty.
The Omnichannel Retail Index 2022 by OSF Digital takes the pulse of the state of digital commerce and omnichannel retail. The Index depicts how leading U.S. retailers and brands deliver on their omnichannel promise, highlighting industry trends and best practices to help you build your omnichannel roadmap and make more informed and smarter investment decisions. The Index examines how 115 retailers in 14 retail verticals (22 online-only) perform against 250+ criteria across web, mobile, and in-store.
Worldwide, BOPIS fulfillment has become a popular retail strategy that allows your customers to have the best of both worlds: online shopping and in-person pickup. BOPIS is an excellent strategy for ecommerce that helps create a great blend of online shopping and physical stores, making the shopping process more convenient for its customers. Research and Markets report that the global BOPIS fulfillment market is expected to reach $703.18 billion by 2027, with a double-digit CAGR of 19.3% from 2021-2027. For many retailers with brick-and-mortar locations, BOPIS went from a “nice to have” to a “must have” during the pandemic when in-store shopping was limited, and curbside became necessary.
Among the brands that offer BOPIS, the Omnichannel Retail Index confirms that 77% offer same-day pickup, up from 68% in 2021. However, the ability to schedule pickup times, filter by store availability, return by curbside, and other convenience capabilities still lag with customer expectations. The call for seamless and integrated shopping experiences is more critical than ever, putting pressure on order management capabilities, including processing, and managing orders, customer data, inventory levels, product information, fulfillment data, and more.
According to the Index, 84% of brands across categories offer BOPIS on their DTC sites, which has “increased significantly” and become table stakes because of the pandemic. This is a dramatic increase in just a few years. In 2016, only 33% of companies had this option.
Curbside pickup adoption, which skyrocketed during the pandemic, is now offered by 62% of brands and retailers. In addition, 96% of brands allow shoppers to return items in-store. Inside physical stores, 46% of brands and retailers now have a dedicated area for picking up online orders.
BOSS is a process that comes into play, filling a gap when your BOPIS orders are out of stock. When the ordered item is not available, the BOSS system can recover it in the nearest available store, minimizing the percentage of lost sales. This back-office omnichannel fulfillment capability helps seamlessly offer customer experiences for merchants with numerous locations. And BOSS enhances inventory management using all your local inventory, helping create an endless aisle from the customer’s perspective where inventory never runs out and your business captures the sale.
Supply Chain Dive reports BOSS can drastically increase distribution efficiency and cost. Where sell-through used to be the indicator of where and how much of a specific product or SKU to stock, buy-through cannot give that same data while reducing exposure to inventory on shelves. Additionally, when BOSS is leveraged, the store uses its own inventory to fulfill the request, increasing store turnover. This takes the pressure off the store and retailer to discount items at the end of the season, so they have fewer goods since turn velocity is higher.
Returns are much more common than they used to be. Further, the Omnichannel Returns 2022 report found that ecommerce average return rates are two to three times greater than store-bought purchases within the same retail category. BORIS helps close the circle, making returns easier and closing the gap for customer satisfaction.
Many retailers’ return policies are static and rigid, leaving little room for interpretation based on important contexts such as a shopper’s lifetime value or returns history. However, retailers have many options to reduce the burden of returns and encourage greater in-store purchases. The Robin Report suggests these tech tips for maximizing BORIS opportunities:
Returns are an inevitable part of ecommerce, particularly for apparel retailers, given the importance of fit. At the same time, there’s a cost to offering options that accommodate a retailer’s customers—whether a return bar, drive-up or home pickup—there’s also a clear, tangible benefit: customer loyalty. Retaining a customer costs less than acquiring one, so retailers should view returns as an opportunity to deepen customer relationships.
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