In-store pickup only saves 96 seconds

Discussion
Jan 05, 2015

According to a study by StellaService on BOPIS (buy online, in-store pickup), online pickup takes an average of 5.4 minutes between entering the store and checking out while standard in-store shopping takes 7 minutes on average.

The study looked at 11 retailers: Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Sears, Staples, Target, Toys "R" Us and Walmart. Two stores of each chain were evaluated with both walk-in and BOPIS shoppers entering the store at the same time. All purchases were made in the South region during the week of 10/27/14.

BOPIS shoppers spent the least amount of time in Office Depot (2 minutes) and the longest in Home Depot and Macy’s (8.5 minutes each). Standard in-store shoppers spent the least amount of time between entering the store and checking out in Target (3.5 minutes) and the longest in Sears (16.5 minutes). For the 11 retailers evaluated, only Home Depot, Macy’s and Nordstrom had faster average in-store shops versus BOPIS.

Other findings included:

  • Availability confirmation: Items were available for pickup in just over an hour on average. The longest wait time for availability confirmation came from Macy’s (2h, 26m) and Sears (2h, 20m). The shortest wait for availability confirmation came from Best Buy and Lowe’s (10m). Other retailers communicating availability in under an hour on average included: Home Depot (25m); Staples (28m); Toys "R" Us (30m); and Office Depot (52m). Home Depot was the only retailer that offered the ability to schedule a pickup.
  • BOPIS Checkout Process: A wide variety of methods were found across retailers for guiding BOPIS shoppers to the appropriate area to pick up their items. Those providing some guidance when entering the store were most helpful. The BOPIS pickup areas for Best Buy, Lowe’s and Target are all immediately visible upon entering the store. Nordstrom lets shoppers pick up from any service desk, regardless of product type. For instance, a shopper can pick up shoes at the makeup counter.
  • BOPIS Checkout Speed: For BOPIS shoppers, 58 percent of their time in-store was spent at the checkout desk (3.1 minutes on average). For in-store shoppers, checkout represented only 15 percent of their in-store time (1.1 minutes).

StellaService said BOPIS enables retailers to leverage local inventory for online sales, assures consumers an item will be in stock and allows them to pick it up faster. It also said better processes should speed BOPIS turnaround. Said Kevon Hills, StellaService VP of research, "If BOPIS proves popular with consumers, you can expect retailers to continue to invest in a more efficient process."

Does BOPIS have to be significantly faster than standard in-store purchases to see widespread customer acceptance? What steps will be necessary to speed turnaround time?

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31 Comments on "In-store pickup only saves 96 seconds"


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Keith Anderson
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

For bigger-ticket, higher-involvement purchases, shoppers are likelier to check stock levels online before going to the store. If the option for BOPIS is offered as well, they have the certainty of leaving the store with the item(s) they came for. This study can’t really account for the time saved on fruitless trips to stores just to see if something is in stock.

Additionally, not all BOPIS orders are placed from in-store inventory. If a BOPIS order was placed through a service like Walmart’s Site-to-Store program, it was likely from a larger online-only assortment than is offered in-store. In those cases, availability is more important than efficiency.

“Net” time savings are a factor, but I suspect shoppers’ mental calculus views the equation a little differently than this study.

Chris Petersen, PhD
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

No. BOPIS does not need to be significantly faster, but it does need to meet the needs of the consumer to be perceived as valuable.

A major advantage of BOPIS is that the consumer knows that the goods will be there at the store when they arrive so that they do not have to waste time shopping in other stores. Another potential value is being able to talk with staff about their purchase, and explore options and accessories first-hand.

HOWEVER, death by checkout lines have killed many sales and return visits.

Perhaps retailers need to consider alternatives for those BOPIS consumers that want to collect and get out fast. Amazing how Apple can make that happen on an iPhone right in the aisle anywhere in the store. Why is that so hard for everyone else?

David Dorf
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

BOPIS may not save that much time when the item is in stock, but it only takes one wasted trip to frustrate and possibly lose a customer.

Marge Laney
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

While the StellaService survey is interesting, it misses the point for the majority of shoppers.

If I need a particular item from Home Depot it’s faster for me to go online and find the item and the local store that has it in stock. Beats calling every store and waiting for store personnel to check stock and (hopefully) put it on hold for me while I make the trip.

BOPIS is about making sure that I get what I want when I want it. The good news is that it’s a game of hours not seconds.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

Absolutely. Click-and-collect’s advantages to the customer are speed and convenience of pick up, while the advantage to the retailer is bringing customers into the store for potential add-on sales. Therefore, the gold standard (two minutes) achieved by Office Depot needs to be achieved by every retailer offering click-and-collect.

As noted in the study, a number of factors relate to speed and convenience:

  1. Speed of notification of product availability for pick up.
  2. Ease of locating product pick-up point.
  3. Speed of actual checkout.

Addressing these three items, perhaps studying Home Depot’s approach could represent a reasonable heuristic to emulate.

Max Goldberg
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

To be successful, BOPIS only has to have the illusion of saving time. Otherwise, as the article points out, it guarantees that the item will be available, which is of paramount importance to time-stressed consumers, especially during sales and holiday periods.

I doubt that retailers would be willing to spend the money necessary to speed up the BOPIS process. This would mean more employees working the registers and pick-up desks.

Consumers want the peace of mind knowing that their desired item(s) will be waiting. That alone will continue to drive BOPIS.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

For BOPIS shoppers, 58 percent of their time in-store was spent at the checkout desk (3.1 minutes on average). YIKES! How can this be? When one orders it online shouldn’t all the payment information be included? When the customer picks it up, there should be no check out. Just scan the item at the pick-up point to confirm receiving it and it is charged. Am I simplifying this process too much?

Steve Montgomery
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

Agree with Marge. It is about the total shopping time both at home and in-store. Customers’ perception of time in the two environments is different. At home I can shop, price compare, answer a call, grab a bite to eat, etc., while shopping and not even lose my place in line. When I finalize my selection I know it will be at the store and waiting for me.

Not so true in a store. I have to first find the item (faster to do with a keyboard than walking around the store), and if it is in stock begin the checkout process, perhaps behind someone who could not find their item, or could not find a clerk for assistance and is asking the cashier instead.

Kevin Graff
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

Having used BOPIS a couple of times this holiday season, I came away both satisfied and frustrated. The technology worked great every time with ease. However, the in-store pickup was less than smooth. Lines were sometimes this issue, but the biggest frustration came because staff were unprepared for the pickups and time was wasted as they had to sort things out. A bigger frustration is from the retailer’s side. Not once did anyone attempt to sell me anything else at the point of pick up. Isn’t the point of getting me to come to the store to get me to buy something else?

Retailers will need to do a better job of training their staff and implementing systems that streamline the pick up, and at the same time increase add-on sales.

Dick Seesel
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

It’s not about saving time vs. a random trip to shop for the same item, so the time study cited is missing the point. The perceived benefit of BOPIS is the assurance that the wanted item is in fact going to be in stock, and set aside for the customer when it’s convenient for him or her to make the visit. Many websites can indicate whether an item is in-stock in a nearby store, but there is not a 100 percent guarantee of accuracy, nor a promise that the item will be easy to locate within the store. After all, the customer can’t find an item in the stockroom or on a storage trailer!

Bob Phibbs
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

One has to ask if the time it takes for the store to pick it in a timely manner and have a dedicated place to store it, in stores that were never designed for those things, negates the benefit of offering BOPIS except on very high-priced, clumsy items.

Liz Crawford
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

BOPIS isn’t about speed per se. It’s about the breadth of offering. If a shopper can access thousands of products online and see-feel-try-and-buy in-store, well, that’s a plus. Except in grocery, the role of the store isn’t about sales or speed. Instead it’s a showcase, and a sometime delivery mechanism, for shopping.

Ed Dunn
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

Clearly an apples-and-oranges comparison, as BOPIS competes with e-commerce fulfillment, not the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Buy Online, Pick Up In Store competes with Buy Online, Wait for Delivery in the customer mind: Whether to order from an e-commerce site or get it now if it is available at a local retailer.

Robert DiPietro
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

It’s not necessarily about the wait time but about the fact the customer will get the product they desire. The time saved isn’t in the checkout process but the wasted trips or the in-store research that the customer may do.

The keys will be confirmation time and time to pick up.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

Saving time isn’t the main reason for customers to buy online and pick up in store—merchandise availability is. Everyone has a story about locating the ideal item in a Sunday circular, only to head to the store and find it sold out. BOPIS is one antidote to an unsatisfactory customer experience.

Doug Garnett
Guest
Doug Garnett
7 years 4 months ago

I saw this study last week. Funny that it seems to miss the point all together.

When I order for pickup at the store, I’m not looking for time saving inside the store. I’m wanting to be certain that the specific store I’m going to will have the item I need.

Time savings? Hours shorter than store hopping hoping to find that item.

Wish the researchers had a better sense of the human realities of shopping.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

Shopper confirmation of inventory at store level is everything for the brick-and-mortar consumer. That’s the larger value of this service.

Corvie Robbins
Guest
Corvie Robbins
7 years 4 months ago

As a consumer I use BOPIS when ever possible because when I order online I can earn a percentage back through various earning sites, like Swagbucks. If I was going to purchase items in the store I would not get my bonus savings. I also enjoy shopping online and detest shopping in a store, so BOPIS reduces the time in the store and negates nearly all impulse purchases.

Tom Redd
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

No, speed is not the ticket—convenience is! Home Depot had parts I needed over the holiday for my typical holiday chore list. I could have waited days to get the parts shipped in and via BOPIS I had them the next day. To me the checkout was no big deal and saved me time overall. Had more time to screw up the plumbing project!

Pat Swindle
Guest
Pat Swindle
7 years 4 months ago

Not sure this is the right comparison. I think the time (AND COST) saving is versus shipping to home or office. I hear of more and more people shopping remotely but choosing to pick up same-day or next-day at a nearby store.

David Zahn
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

I see this as an issue of tapping into the desire for immediate gratification – where the prospective shopper is at home clicking and clacking on the keyboard as they “shop” and rather than waiting for a 2-day shipping (with or without fees), they can go to the local store and pick it up (content in the knowledge that the product is there and available).

There’s less time for “buyer’s remorse” coming to the surface and leading to a canceled order, and a happier customer who is able to use the product immediately.

Jonathan Marek
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

Doesn’t this depend entirely on what the product and shopping occasion is? I can imagine harder to find items where the point of BOPIS is simply to ensure the product is there when I visit. It’s like calling ahead, but I’d rather do it online. At many stores, I might even want to do other shopping that isn’t BOPIS alongside.

OTOH, when Starbucks advance ordering comes to San Francisco (soon, please!), I will definitely expect it’ll get me in and out the door much faster.

Phil Rubin
Guest
Phil Rubin
7 years 4 months ago

Much of the value of BOPIS versus “standard in-store purchase” (which is increasingly a misnomer given omni-channel shopping habits) is not simply time “saved” versus a comparable in-store purchase. Rather it’s the value of the time saved versus non-comparable in-store visits, which is where the product sought after doesn’t exist.

BOPIS doesn’t have to be faster, but rather more precise in terms of fulfilling a purchase. This is interesting data but it fails to explain the “why” versus the “how much” (i.e., time savings).

W. Frank Dell II, CMC
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

I am not sure the time in the store is the deciding factor in BOPIS. The greatest drivers could be in-stock and price. If the price is the same we are down to in-stock. No one want to take a trip to a store to learn the store is out-of-stock. The value of BOPIS is getting the customer into the store so they can make additional purchases. Reducing the in-store time may be mistake.

Peter J. Charness
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

As pointed out, this is more of a guarantee that the product will be there for me when I go to get it, as well as the reduced wait time in terms of time to use vs say Amazon, which will still take a few days. I think BOPIS though isn’t the right term, it’s click and collect. Grocers are already setting up “near store” collect points where the consume doesn’t have to go into the store at all, and I expect some day someone will turn some set of real estate (like say RadioShack), into a destination pick up point where there is no real “store” to shop at all.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

This consumer purchase habit is much more about a brick and mortar store’s inventory levels and the desire to one-stop shop. Time is much more precious to the 21st century consumer than acknowledged by retailers.

Arie Shpanya
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

While I do believe that retailers must improve signage and wait times associated with in-store pickup, I don’t think that a lightening speed process is necessary to make BOPIS a widespread practice. BOPIS is already more efficient than ordering an item online and waiting for it to ship. The factors that could improve turnaround times are: dedicated staff for online orders, clear areas for pickup, and improved inventories. When retailers have what shoppers are looking for, process them quickly, and direct them exactly where they need to go, the process will move much quicker.

Christina Ellwood
Guest
Christina Ellwood
7 years 4 months ago

No, but if retailers would provide clear signage/direction to pickup areas and dedicated pickup areas (rather than sharing the customer service desk), they could improve the order online/pick up in-store time savings and the customer’s experience.

Bryan Pearson
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

While time spent in the store may be a factor for shoppers that select BOPIS, a recent survey by LoyaltyOne indicates the almighty dollar is one of the biggest motivators for consumers who choose to buy online and pick up in-store. A survey of 2,002 North American shoppers reveals that 68% of consumers who pick up their purchase in store simply want to avoid shipping costs. Women were more apt to desire to save money. Seventy-two percent of women versus 65% of men indicated they’d pick up to save on shipping costs.

With online consumers so eager to set foot in the store for their purchase to save on shipping, smart retailers should implement this option and make sure their customers are aware of it. And, as this is another touchpoint in the shopping experience, retailers should ensure if they make this option available that they have a reliable system to ensure the product is ready for their consumer. All the money in the world doesn’t trump a frustrating customer experience.

Christopher P. Ramey
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

Customers will demand a perceptible time savings. Time is currency.

J. Kent Smith
Guest
7 years 4 months ago

Interesting study! So time savings aren’t big, if at all; but I suppose it might (and I say might) be easier? Either way the conceptual idea has hit reality and not fared well. The one detail stat that struck me was that in-store shoppers chewed up 1.1 minutes in the checkout, whereas BOPIS took 2.2 minutes longer? Why? That seems to be the low hanging fruit. Surely you don’t want a customer hoping for convenience to wait 3x as long “checking out” as one whose wandered around the store.

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