Amid a fundamental shift in the industry, retail is exploding with new, innovative ways to stay safe while maintaining a path to purchase.
What started with online stores and e-commerce platforms has now blossomed into two clear retailing methods that will assist businesses and consumers alike during this unprecedented time. With approximately 83% of consumers saying they would prefer to return to the physical store to make purchases, BOPIS and BORIS are a great step in meeting customer demands while keeping everyone safe.
Buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) and reserve online, pick-up in-store (ROPIS) are two incredibly efficient ways of wireless retailing whose usefulness will extend far beyond the days of COVID and social distancing. They aren’t only useful to keep a safe distance, they’re effective in opening up avenues to retailing that make it even easier for consumers to shop exactly how they want.
We know investing in new technologies and training staff on new processes can be costly and time-consuming, but BOPIS and BORIS are worth it — trust us. Not only will you improve your bottom line through convenient (and, we’ll say it again, safe) ways of satisfying customers, you’ll keep the connection between your brand, associates, and customers alive and well.
Here are eight reasons implementing BOPIS and ROPIS should be your next move in wireless retail.
1. Customers aren’t comfortable
Not yet, anyway. The looming danger of COVID is still a concern and, for many consumers, means they’re not planning any big shopping trips any time soon. In an attempt to reduce exposure, consumers are more willing to try out new technologies. Extending the reach of your transactional processes shows customers that you’re listening to their concerns, that you care about their safety, and that you’re still the number one choice for all their wireless retail needs.
2. Maintained customer relationships
If you had to make changes — big or small — to how your store operates in the last few months, you’ve likely noticed that it’s been hard to keep connected with even your most loyal customers. With online to in-store purchase options, you’ve introduced the human connection back into the transactional process. Your store stays top of mind with your shoppers and your associates can flex the customer service skills that make your retail store a fan-favorite.
3. Reintroducing the human element
Wireless retail isn’t always a quick, in-and-out experience. Purchases in this category are often expensive and setup, renewal, or upgrades can take 30-minutes or more. That means you’ve equipped your staff with front-line associates who love helping people. They’re the kind of employees who aren’t looking to just “get the job done,” but rather are excited to take their time and make a meaningful connection with their shoppers (whether it be a one-time patron or a loyal repeat shopper).
At a time when the pandemic is refocusing attention to the basics (human connection and community – on a local and global scale) now is a time for retailers to demonstrate authenticity, empathy, and commitment to their communities. By reintroducing human connection into even a small portion of the retailing experience, you’re injecting some normalcy into the lives of your customers and your staff.
4. Staggered selling of products and services
Your wireless retail store isn’t the size of a big-box store, and that’s by design. The store layout is conducive to listening, forming relationships, and making customers feel like they’re more than the purchase they’re about to make — they’re a part of the family and they’re being cared for.
But smaller retail environments, no matter how effective in building meaningful connections, aren’t places where social distancing can always be observed if the store is full. With online to in-store tactics, consumers can buy or reserve their products online, effectively cutting down the time they would usually spend in-store with the research and evaluation of products done from the safety of their own homes.
To further these efforts wireless retailers could implement appointment scheduling functionality to be able to safely provide services without many customers in the store at one time.
5. Inventory management efficiency
COVID-19 shook up the retail world and likely affected the way your business is managing retail. With shoppers not patronizing your business in the same way, alternative methods of retailing (BOPIS and ROPIS) can further ensure your inventory isn’t wasted. No staleness here!
Offering the same amazing products through different channels than the traditional in-store method means your customers are getting what they need and want while still adhering to the COVID restrictions in their area.
6. Staying competitive in a changing landscape
The fundamental shift in the retail industry accelerated the adoption of all retailing methods that were devoid of human interaction. E-commerce was the first and obvious choice in this adoption, but BOPIS and ROPIS have become proven tactics as customers get anxious to find that hint of normalcy. Wireless retailers who were quick to adapt showed a clear competitive advantage over those who didn’t, but it’s not over yet. If you’re just implementing new processes now, you’re going to make a jump far above the competition — especially if their in-store operations are all they have to offer.
7. Complete customer-centricity on all channels
With passionate associates who spend time with each customer, it was clear that the in-store experience was all about making the shopper feel comfortable, feel a connection, and feel at home in the wireless retail environment. But now that the physical storefront has a diminished capacity for selling, businesses are needing to create a customer-focused process elsewhere.
Omnichannel initiatives that connect the physical and virtual store keep all eyes on the customer experience. When choosing which process to adopt first, take a look at the needs of your customer base, where they’re drawn to most often, and even feel free to reach out to your most loyal shoppers and as their opinion. Seeing what matters to them will go a long way in making them feel like changes to your operations are made with their needs in mind.
8. Evolving with the retail industry
Even with omnichannel initiatives that bridge the in-store and online experiences, consumer shopping habits have shifted. With social distancing, online shopping trends are no longer as predictable as they once were. Some consumers are shopping more often, some are ignoring purchases altogether, and some are browsing and buying one or two items only — the rules of shopper behavior have changed.
Not only does this mean wireless retailers need to be adapting the purchase process, but the return process as well. One study showed that with an increase in returns, retailers will need to focus on cost-effective solutions that are friction-free for shoppers.
Think of it this way: the partner to BOPIS and ROPIS is BORIS, also known as buy online, return in-store. But this little acronym is loaded with expectations. Customers who purchase online need to not only be able to return in-store, but return in any store. A return-anywhere BORPIS implementation removes barriers to purchase in the first place and shows good faith that you’re making meaningful retail changes that focus solely on the safety and satisfaction of the consumer.
Set yourself up for near, short, and long term success
Keeping up during this pandemic has felt like a never-ending battle to stay innovative. But with new methods of selling emerging that support the special needs of wireless retailers, it’s becoming easier to reintroduce your stores to your customers — and trust us, they’ve missed you. Are you ready to set yourself up for success, near term, short term, and long term?
Watch our webinar on How You Can Prepare to Enter the New Normal in Wireless Retail and Survive Longterm.