What should stores do about BOPIS abandonment?
BOPIS abandonment, or when a user cancels or fails to collect their online purchases at the store, is a “surprisingly frequent occurrence,” according to a recent Forrester report, “Abolish Abandon Rates For In-Store Pickup.”
The report cites a Forrester survey from 2015 that found that that just below 30 percent of all BOPIS users and 40 percent of Millennials had abandoned a BOPIS purchase in the past three months.
Those abandoning a BOPIS pickup cited a variety of reasons for doing so. These included choosing to have the item shipped to their home instead, finding a better deal from another store, changing their mind, and forgetting to do the pickup. Other reasons given included finding that the item was not ready to pick up when they arrived and not liking the item once they saw it. Retailers often incur costs from the loss of a sale, needlessly reserving inventory and the waste of associates’ time.
Kevon Hills, SVP, operations and insights at StellaService, also told RetailWire that certain retailers would run up additional costs because they use ship-to-store to fulfill BOPIS orders.
With BOPIS users often spending more when they arrive at the store, charging a BOPIS fee to dissuade abandonment — even if redeemable — may be counterproductive.
The Forrester report advises reducing the risks of “No-Shows” by making it a priority for stores to fulfill orders quickly. The quicker a notification is received, the more likely they are to be picked up. Other recommendations include sending “thank you” e-mails, employing marketing that highlights the benefits of BOPIS (i.e., saving on shipping), and sending steady reminders.
“Having full inventory transparency can help by allowing items to be restocked in store versus going back to a warehouse,” suggested Mr. Hills. “Also having clear training and incentives in place for associates so that they know how to handle cancelled orders can help mitigate friction.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How aggressively should retailers work to reduce BOPIS abandonment? What advice would you have for reducing the occurrence and/or the impact of BOPIS abandonment?