The growth of omnichannel fulfillment programs such as buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup of online orders has been a retail industry trend for several years now. That trend reached a tipping point in the last 12 months, as the COVID-19 pandemic led consumers to seek out safer, contactless shopping experiences. Equally embraced by consumers and retailers alike, and for many of the same reasons (e.g., cost savings on last-mile order delivery), BOPIS and curbside have transitioned from nice-to-have to must-have services for brands with physical storefronts.
According to Accenture Strategy’s Holiday Shipping study, released in December 2020, 65 percent of retailers either offer BOPIS or curbside pickup (or both) vs. 52 percent that did so in 2019. When looking specifically at curbside pickup, the growth is even more stark. According to Digital Commerce 360, the percentage of Top 500 North American e-commerce retailers offering curbside pickup jumped from just 6.9 percent in December 2019 to 43.7 percent in August 2020.
Retailers are simply reacting to consumer behavior and demand for these types of omnichannel services. Half of all consumers have decided where to shop online based on whether they could pick up their order in-store, according to a study from Invesp. Furthermore, at the time the Invesp research was released (June 2020), 67 percent of shoppers in the U.S. had made a BOPIS transaction in the previous six months.
Demand for BOPIS and curbside pickup isn’t a pandemic-induced trend. Rather, it’s a permanent behavioral shift. In fact, it figures only to increase as consumers come to appreciate the convenience, cost savings, and immediate gratification associated with these types of omnichannel services. Therefore, retailers must identify how they can improve upon existing BOPIS and curbside pickup programs, many of which were hastily rolled out by retailers at the outset of the pandemic as a means to keep their businesses afloat.