As we get closer to the end of this quarantine, for now, one term keeps coming up “Retail to-go”. Retail to-go is not a result of the pandemic, it was already in place before it as part of the omnichannel, which I have mentioned before here. Let’s talk for a bit about retail to-go and what it could possibly mean for the future.
Like Amazon, But Slower
Many retailers have a feature Buy Online Pick Up in Store, or BOPIS (one of the absolute worst acronyms ever), this feature allows you to order items you like online and pick them up at the store. I personally love this feature, it means I do not have to walk around the store trying to find what I want, I can get someone else to do it for me and all I have to do is pick up my items.
I cannot overstate how helpful this feature is, because of it I do not need to look around the store only to find my game, size, book, etc. is not available. This feature has given me more time to spend with the aforementioned games, anything that gives me more gaming time is a winner in my book.
Now I know what you are thinking “yes, I could do BOPIS, but why wouldn’t I just order these things and not have to drive somewhere?” Now that is a great question theoretical reader, of course BOPIS could never match the convenience of ordering something to be delivered at your doorstep, but BOPIS does have its pros. For one it is convenient, most stores will get your items ready for you the same day, meaning no need to wait for it to leave a warehouse, get in a truck, get into another truck, and get delivered to you. Being able to pick up your items the same day also means that if something doesn’t work you can return or exchange it that day or the day after, this type of convenience can only be matched by shopping at the store itself.
The most important thing to know about it is, BOPIS is overwhelmingly used by those who are already invested in a brand. A brand’s most loyal customers will already know how things fit, for example, therefore they will know what sizes to get and how different styles fit. Having worked at Banana Republic in the past I already know how their sizes and styles fit me so I can go online, pick my colors and sizes, pay for them, and pick them up knowing full well they will fit properly.
Of course, to-go is not only for clothes. Target, Walmart, and even Apple have all been doing this for years to great success.
The Future of Retail
I cannot tell you what the future holds for retail, up until February I had a pretty solid idea, but that is all up in the air now. What I know for a fact is that those who adapt will survive and those who already have a functioning omnichannel will have a leg up in this race.
Providing a seamless experience between online and instore, and the ability to shop without having to spend more than 5 minutes in the store, especially during these times, will put your brand ahead of the competition.
If you were not working on providing your customer with a functioning omnichannel experience now is the time to start. Remember, the longer you wait the further ahead your competition will be than you.