How retailers should be thinking about BOPIS this winter

If you’re a retailer, you know about BOPIS. The trend is on fire for customers to buy online and pick up in store, especially with the global pandemic and holiday shopping upon us.


Not every BOPIS experience is seamless, however. Without a strong order-ahead strategy and the right technology in place, you can end up with curbside customers honking in a crowded parking lot on a cold day or stressfully walking through your store–with their mask fogging their glasses–as they search for the counter designated for their pickup. In either case, this can damage customer satisfaction and leave buyers relying on Amazon for the rest of their holiday shopping.

KIBO Commerce data shows retailers are seeing customers select the BOPIS option four times more than before the pandemic began, and BOPIS orders now make up around 40% of total retail orders. With so much at stake, we’ve put together some recommendations for nailing order-ahead (whether customers are picking up in-store or curbside) this winter and beyond.

If a customer makes an online purchase in a retail app, they have a few options. They can get the items delivered (which incurs shipping costs often absorbed by the merchant), pick up curbside (which is more profitable than shipping), or pick up in store (which is most profitable because the customer is likely to pick up additional items once in the store–which ICSC found 67% of BOPIS shoppers do).

BOPIS is a means of connecting digital experiences to physical stores. To do so effectively, location is a key input. Location can help the end-to-end experience for store associates and customers by communicating arrival information to both parties.

Without location, the experience falls short:

  1. The customer enters the store and searches for the pickup counter.
  2. Their order may or may not be ready, and the store associates aren’t expecting them.
  3. If they are picking up curbside, they may be driving aimlessly around a mall parking lot trying to call the store to figure out when and where their order will be coming out.

Adding location to your BOPIS and curbside experiences increases order value and customer satisfaction.

For a low-lift location-based experience, Radar can send arrival notifications to help store associates prepare for order pickups. Retailers can leverage push notifications (via Radar integrations like Airship or Braze) to help communicate to customers where they should pick up their items once they enter the store. Clicking the notification can lead to an in-store app mode, which can be used to surface in-stock items and deals at that specific location. This is a great way to invite customers to pick up a few of those in-store deals before checkout for increased order value.

Buy online pick up in store

If BOPIS and curbside are significant revenue channels for you, it’s time to graduate to something bigger. Trip Tracking from Radar is the digital link between a trip and an order. Customers no longer have to tell you how far they are from your store, and store associates no longer have to rely on false "I'm on my way" signals.

With a turnkey dashboard and live location and ETA updates, Radar shows store associates where on-trip customers are on a map, so associates know when to prepare orders for pickup or when and where to drop off a curbside order. If many orders are occurring simultaneously, associates will have the information needed to prioritize customer orders and other tasks. Radar also improves the customer experience by triggering push notifications to guide approaching customers with parking and pickup instructions.

Beyond enabling curbside, trip tracking enables many more use cases. For example, if a customer wants to come try on items they were browsing online, retail associates can get notified as the customer approaches, making it possible to prepare a dressing room from their shopping list at just the right time.

If you’re a retailer looking to nail BOPIS or curbside, improve the customer experience, and increase average order value (AOV), we’d love to hear from you. Whether you’re looking for a low-lift implementation to get your strategy off the ground or looking to elevate your order-ahead strategy to wow your customers, Radar can help.

If you're a technology or business leader investing in frictionless digital experiences tied to physical locations, contact our sales team.