5 Things Every Store Should Consider
In the first part of this series, we covered the many options there are when it comes to deciding how your Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store (BOPIS) and Buy-Online-Return-In-Store (BORIS) services will take place. Additionally, we explored how BORIS transactions can be handled, as well as the store and staff elements that need to be considered to support an omnichannel environment.
For retailers venturing into the omnichannel space, the level of efficiency and accuracy is only as good as the tools being used. Equipping yourself with the components you need to prevent fulfillment hiccups and prevent shrink is an important step that may require some research and discussion across several departments.
Additionally, with so many aspects to consider, it is also may be easy to lose sight of why you wanted to provide omnichannel services in the first place: to increase customer loyalty and overall happiness. In the second half of this series, we take both points into consideration, with the ultimate end-goal being a better understanding of the enhancements you need to give your consumers the best possible omnichannel experience.
#4: What Systems or Tools Can Enhance the BORIS and BOPIS Process?
Deciding which tools or programs to use to make your BORIS and BOPIS processes great is far from a one-size-fits-all situation. Here are a few solutions retailers have found to improve their omnichannel efforts:
Omnichannel Order Management Systems (OMS)
There’s a lot of item movement with BORIS and BOPIS in your stores, and not accurately keeping track of it all could cause consumer frustration and an increase in shrink. Eileen Fisher Inc., which has 50 specialty stores and an ecommerce website, mentioned in an article that they were managing their online, retail, and wholesale businesses as separate financial entities with their own inventory management systems. They quickly realized they needed an “omnichannel retail transformation.”
Bringing all inventory management under one system is a crucial step for retailers in similar situations. Due to this, having an order management system (OMS), preferably one equipped with artificial intelligence, can help grow revenue and protect shrink. In fact, highly-optimized companies using such solutions were four times more likely to report a large positive impact on their revenue than those with less optimized solutions. Breaking this down ever further, 38 percent of higher-optimized organizations saw a positive impact on BOPIS, and 56 percent saw a large customer satisfaction impact when used for BORIS. Ultimately, the more optimized an OMS is, the more tools and opportunities for consumer convenience are available.
Inventory Management System (IMS)
For better order status intelligence and on-demand alerts and tasks, a combined order management system and inventory management system (IMS) can pack a powerful punch. These systems can ensure items are organized in a manner that they can be found and fulfilled quickly and accurately, and are able to provide real-time customer arrival notifications to a store or fulfillment team.
Combining POS and IMS data can also help retailers determine what inventory and staffing they may need for the future. Additionally, the data provided from this can be used to determine how brick-and-mortar and omnichannel affect month-over-month and year-over-year growth, and can even be used to make decisions on how to improve policies or improve management.
Sometimes, preventing excessive returns requires taking a look at how to improve up-front information when consumers are shopping online. This is especially common amongst apparel retailers, who have one of the highest return rates of any retail category.
Stock-outs and overstocks can become an issue with BOPIS, but inventory still must remain at a correct level for a high volume of consumers across many locations. A reliable IMS plays a key part in this, especially if you set up reorder points so that low-level stock can be replenished when it meets a minimum quantity. It may seem simple, but even automating this one step can help immensely.
Return Authorization Solutions
Preventing fraudulent returns is important, especially with an overall increase in BORIS transactions for retailers. However, it needs to be done in a way that doesn’t punish good customers. Having an AI-powered return authorization solution is a crucial tool for retailers seeing an influx in returns. Many of these are able to be installed at stores without needing to integrate the POS or merchandising systems, which lowers overall cost and time to implement.
A good return authorization solution will be able to alert employees in real-time about potentially fraudulent returns and protect the 99 percent of consumers who don’t behave fraudulently. Using this tool can greatly reduce shrink and stop fraudsters, as well as organized retail crime rings, in their tracks.
Other Things to Consider
Utilizing RFID tags can help brick-and-mortar employees quickly locate order packages. This can drastically improve a consumer’s pickup experience, especially since an instance of waiting twenty minutes for an employee to locate a package is often enough for a consumer to never use the service again.
Merging online and brick-and-mortar channels also allows you to garner consumer insights in a new way by looking at combined metrics from in-store and online shopping. This data can help you understand your customer journey better.
Sometimes, preventing excessive returns requires taking a look at how to improve up-front information when consumers are shopping online. This is especially common amongst apparel retailers, who have one of the highest return rates of any retail category. Consider ways to ensure consumers that what they are buying will fit. This may include detailed size charts with more measurement points, or even incentives for consumers to leave reviews that include their measurements and how the items fit for them. Nike is a great example of innovating in a way that prevents excessive returns: They recently launched Nike Fit, an in-store and app service, which helps consumers determine their exact shoe size.
Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of mobile devices. Connecting them to your inventory systems and POS can allow employees to view inventory levels at any time, check out consumers, and process returns no matter where they are in the store. Encouraging employees to not hide behind the counters and actively seek out consumers in the store that may need help is a great way to transform your store from a traditional, long-queues type of layout into one that is open, approachable, and convenient for everyone.
#5: How Can You Turn BOPIS and BORIS Into Opportunities for Customer Loyalty?
The ultimate goal for BORIS and BOPIS services is to keep consumers happy and coming back to stores. Once a retailer has implemented and successfully executed an omnichannel supply chain, it’s time to go back to the heart of the matter and determine how to continue optimizing their store for customer loyalty.
One way to do this is by deciding how to fulfill online orders that would typically slow it down for a consumer. Snowstorms, for example, can cause plenty of frustration for consumers as orders become delayed. Having a good omnichannel system in place may allow you to fulfill that order from a local store instead of using the e-commerce DC. Ideally, order fulfillment at this point should be centralized, faster, and require shorter lead times. Due to this, the products get into the consumers’ hands quicker, and product turnover is also faster: a win-win for both retailer and consumer.
Merging online and brick-and-mortar channels also allows you to garner consumer insights in a new way by looking at combined metrics from in-store and online shopping. This data can help you understand your customer journey better. Combined with predictive analytics, marketing strategies can become even more robust and successful. You may also be able to provide consumers with tailor-made incentives that wouldn’t have been available before, including reasons for them to continue shopping in-store immediately after a BORIS situation has occurred.
Optimizing your store for omnichannel solutions that include BORIS and BOPIS may seem daunting – there are plenty of aspects to consider, and it’s not something that can happen overnight. Despite the challenges, the benefits for both consumers and retailers remain: convenience, faster returns and exchanges, consumer insight, more strategic fulfillment, and a hybrid shopping experience that allows consumers to take their time browsing, shopping, and ordering in a way that works for them.
Leslie Nienaber, Digital Marketing Manager, Appriss Retail
Leslie researches business trends and distills the information for a retail audience. Her marketing experience has covered a wide variety of industries, including promotional products, microbiology, print, and mail. She spent five years in the retail industry before graduating with her Bachelors in Business Administration from John Carroll University.