What is BOPIS? Comparing BOPIS with BOPIL

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By Jacob Maslow

The coronavirus has made serious adjustments to retail trade, as a result of which the emphasis has significantly shifted towards online trading and contactless delivery of orders. In this article, we will explain what the acronyms BOPIS and BOPIL mean, how they relate to online retail, and the role of self-service lockers in this phenomenon.

What is BOPIS?

The abbreviation BOPIS stands for “buy online, pick up in-store,” and this approach perfectly combines the convenience of online shopping and the ability to receive your order at a convenient time at the pickup point.

This is beneficial for everyone – both buyers and sellers. How do retailers benefit? The most important thing is to increase customer loyalty. Another equally important point is to minimize refusals due to high delivery costs; it can be removed from the receiving options altogether! In addition, it is worth mentioning the likelihood that a person who comes to the store to buy a product will make another purchase. There are three benefits for retailers:

  1. Customer loyalty;
  2. Minimum failures;
  3. Additional sales at the pick-up point.

Now in more detail about how BOPIS works:

  • The user places an order online and places it in the cart;
  • He chooses the pick-up option without shipping costs;
  • The order is prepared for pickup: either it is picked up in the same store where they want to pick it up, or it is found in another store and brought to the place of receipt;
  • The customer receives a notification that the purchase is ready for pickup;
  • The buyer comes conveniently and picks up the goods at the delivery counter.

BOPIS problems

There may be several challenges for retailers. First, this is due to the accurate inventory of goods in real time. And also need to have an e-commerce platform and an inventory management system. There are many difficulties with queues – they are sometimes difficult to avoid, leading to decreased customer loyalty. By the way, this makes clients very nervous. Well, it’s worth mentioning the theft problem – the staff needs to identify the person at the time of receipt, which takes time and still does not exclude the possibility of another person receiving the purchase.


What is BOPIL?

This word stands for “buy online, pick up in locker” – a more advanced and modern version of BOPIS. The basis of this approach is the use of smart Parcel Lockers networks. That is, the process is the same until the order is received: in the case of BOPIL, the buyer picks up his goods not at the pick-up point at the reception desk but from the self-service box.

BOPIS and BOPIL: which is better?

With BOPIS, receiving an order can take up to 10 minutes: you must enter the store, go to the counter, wait in line, prove your identity, and wait for the administrator to find the order. The BOPIL customer scans the unique barcode in the notification email to open the Parcel Locker door. He then retrieves his order from the locker, at which point the system notifies staff that the automated box is again available for use. It takes a few seconds.

BOPIL also performs better in terms of returns. Customers wishing to return an item for one reason or another can request a return authorization, which includes a unique barcode to open the locker. When a returned order is placed in the locker and the door is closed, store employees are notified. The product can be returned to the warehouse for resale, and the purchase price will be automatically credited to the buyer’s account.

But it’s not all that simple: “pick up in store” has its adherents, both from consumers and from retailers.

Why do consumers like BOPIS?

  • Savings – no need to pay for delivery;
  • Speed ​​– you can quickly receive your order;
  • Convenience – purchases are made online and picked up at a convenient time;
  • Returns – this process is much simpler.

Why do sellers like BOPIS?

  • You can offer pickup instead of paid delivery;
  • Savings on last mile delivery;
  • Increase in additional sales;
  • Increased store traffic.

Why do customers like BOPIL?

  • Positive shopping experience – lack of queues and speed of receipt;
  • Contactless delivery – no contact with the seller’s staff;
  • Security – with Parcel Locker, theft is excluded;
  • Automation – the system itself informs that the shipment is in place.

Why do sellers like BOPIL?

  • Saving on personnel – you can maintain a minimum number of employees;
  • Minimum losses – all parcels reach the recipient;
  • Convenient service – process automation;
  • Profit – sales growth from customer loyalty.

Bottom line

BOPIS and BOPIL are two equally successful strategies, each of which has its supporters and critics. However, we can say that BOPIL looks somewhat more modern and preferable due to the use of self-service Parcel Lockers. But BOPIS companies can also integrate these devices into their business and benefit from the use of parcel lockers.

Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos