While having too many options is not necessarily a good idea, having no options surely turns your customers off.
Omnichannel strategies hold the key to meeting, if not exceeding, customer expectations. As the word ‘omni’ indicates, an omnichannel strategy synergizes multiple sales channels to enhance customer experience.
We’ve been valuing online-to-offline integration in the world of retail.
With seamless O2O integration, a brick-and-mortar store can serve more than just a point of sale to sell products and services, but a hub to spice up the shopping experience as a whole.
While the most common practice in eCommerce logistics goes to ‘Shop online, Deliver to Customer’ (a.k.a. last-mile delivery), we are exploring two emerging trends in today’s blog - BOPIS and BORIS.
BOPIS: What & Why
BOPIS stands for ‘Buy Online, Pick-up In Store’.
Commonly known as ‘click and collect’, BOPIS takes place when customers buy online and choose to pick up their orders in a brick-and-mortar store.
On one hand, BOPIS drives foot traffic from online to offline. According to invesp, 38% of retailers surveyed revealed ‘attracting potential shoppers to store’ as the main reason for offering BOPIS. It’s every business owner’s dream to convert every store visitor into customers - BOPIS hints at an opportunity to ‘upsell’ while customers come to pick up their online orders in-store.
On the other hand, BOPIS provides great flexibility and convenience in order fulfillment, as in customers determine how they get their orders, satisfying those who want to minimize delivery lead time and get rid of additional shipping costs.
BORIS: What & Why
BORIS stands for ‘Buy Online, Return In Store’.
BORIS takes place when customers make online purchases and return unwanted items at a brick-and-mortar store.
Not every customer is comfortable with return shipping, BORIS is thus a game-changing strategy to give customers buying confidence – knowing that they can return unwanted items in whichever way they prefer.
In some cases, BOPIS is followed by BORIS when a customer decides to return products after picking up his or her order in-store - creating the best of two worlds for customers to enjoy great efficiency, convenience and buying confidence.
Implementing & Managing Omnichannel Strategies: Potential Challenges
Omnichannel retail opens doors to new opportunities, but this game can be challenging for both the retail and supply chain sectors.
Almost half of the retailers surveyed – 45.6% - revealed logistics and inventory tracking as the biggest challenge among retailers while managing BOPIS (Source: invesp).
How to surpass your competitors with effective logistics and inventory management?
1. The Establishment and Alignment of Strong Logistics Network
While BOPIS and BORIS largely enhance customers’ shopping experiences, gaining this competitive edge puts a heavy burden on merchants to realize a smooth and effective flow of inventory, especially for the transition of goods between warehouses and stores. Hence, having a powerful logistics network to support omnichannel retail is essential.
[On a side note] Either develop one or utilize an existing one of a 3PL – here’s why: https://bonuship.com/en/blog/crowdfunding-fulfillment/3pl-new-weapon-ecommerce-warfare-lets-dive-and-explore
2. The Use of Inventory Management System (IMS)
Inventory control and tracking are of great significance when it comes to order fulfillment.
In our previous blog about eCommerce fulfillment integration, we’ve mentioned how important it is to keep merchants and shoppers aligned on stock level and order status, ensuring a smooth operation and enhancing customer satisfaction correspondingly.
An effectively managed IMS helps avoid stock-outs and overstocks through maintaining stocks at a proper level in real-time, making sure that all online orders can be fulfilled in-store accurately.
Further Thoughts: Omnichannel Retail for Customer Loyalty & Business Growth
A sad but true story in the retail battlefield:
‘Never expect a customer to buy from you again if you ever failed to meet his or her expectation.’
Having order fulfillment centralized and customer-oriented helps improve customer retention and loyalty - here's to win their hearts and minds with strategic omnichannel retail.
Furthermore, online-to-offline integration is not something new - but it never goes outdated in terms of effectiveness. Merging online and offline channels also provides opportunities for brands to gain firsthand insights into their customers. For instance, on how they shop, what services are value-adding in their POV, and what they expect, etc.