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'BOPUS' Gives Consumers the Options They Crave

But usage has slipped from a year ago

Many retailers have embraced buy online, pick up in-store (BOPUS) initiatives. The service meets the needs of omnichannel shoppers who want added flexibility and provides cost-cutting measures for both consumers and retailers.

And the service is popular among consumers. In a recent Kibo Commerce survey, 67% of US internet users said they had used BOPUS in the past six months. Not surprisingly, the leading reason why was to avoid shipping costs, cited by 86% of respondents. But the ability to pick up the product when convenient (85%) was nearly as important. 

Meanwhile, roughly three-quarters of respondents opted for BOPUS because they didn’t want to wait at home for a package that had no set delivery time. And being able to see a product before taking it home (77%) as well as the efficiency of having a product waiting for them at a counter (76%) were also important.

According to "The eMarketer Ecommerce Insights Report," conducted by Bizrate Insights in March 2018, home delivery is the most used method by US internet users for digital purchases. But BOPUS ranked second, ahead of other options like delivering to work, a locker or shipping-to-store. Nearly one-quarter (23.6%) of respondents had used BOPUS in the past month, and usage ranged from 24.0% to 30.0% for all age groups except for those 60 and older.

Notably, though, the Kibo Commerce survey found that BOPUS usage decreased by 15% from last year. This is possibly the result of greater inventory transparency online. 

Fewer shoppers feel the need to essentially reserve an item in-store when they know there are plenty in stock. Some 78% of respondents in the Kibo Commerce survey said they look up inventory before a store visit, and almost as many are influenced to make a purchase by seeing the number of items in stock.

Retailers recognize that giving shoppers access to inventory data is as important as allowing them flexible delivery options. In a November 2017 survey of retail professionals in North America by International Data Corporation (IDC), 57% of respondents had implemented real-time inventory visibility, and 37% planned to do so in the next 12 to 18 months.