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As "BOPIS" Grows, Loyalty Anticipation Flows

Rollo Grayson

The modern era of platform-agnostic, omni-channel loyalty has ushered in countless opportunities for customer engagement in any context. Customers now have the power to connect with the brands they love, anywhere and anytime - and these brands have not hesitated to place their programs at the fingertips of their audience. BOPIS, or Buy-Online-Pick-Up-In-Store, while still a relatively novel retail concept, has already demonstrated its potential for brick-and-mortar operations.

The idea is a simple one: customers can purchase whatever they please online, but they are directed to the physical store to retrieve their purchases. On the surface, it might seem like an extraneous ask for today's hyper-streamlined consumers, but the research tells a different story. One study revealed that over half (68%) of more than 2,000 U.S. shoppers have made multiple BOPIS purchases [even more promising is the fact that 50% of surveyed consumers have based their initial purchase decisions around BOPIS availability].

BOPIS REINVENTING BRICK-AND-MORTAR RETAIL

In the context of brick-and-mortar preservation, BOPIS has exploded. While some have challenged aspects of its implementation, retailers seem to be embracing the model wholeheartedly: by 2020, 90% will offer it to customers. What seems less discussed, however, are the countless advantages BOPIS pose specifically for loyalty practitioners. When it comes right down to it, BOPIS creates a lot of opportunity for cultivating a consistent loyalty experience across both digital and physical retail channels – closing the loop on a complete omni-channel engagement strategy. But the benefits that arise with this robust new toolbox cannot be realized without a strategic vision to incorporate BOPIS into an overarching loyalty framework. With that said, here are a few ideas to help loyalty marketers reap what BOPIS has to offer:

BOPIS ENHANCING RETAIL CUSTOMER JOURNEY WITH HIGH RESOLUTION MAPPING

BOPIS has evolved the retail customer journey, and it's important for marketers to understand the nuances of these changes. One thing to consider is that BOPIS introduces many more opportunities for interaction than simply inside the store itself. For example, loyalty strategies tied to pickup notifications, reminder emails, follow-up CRM, promotional overlays, and social media must be developed to derive full value from BOPIS.

ANTICIPATE AND ADAPT TO ADDITIONAL DATA

A great data strategy is arguably the most important element of modern loyalty platforms. Successful implementation of BOPIS retail data will fuel everything from accurate targeting for current tactics to long-term planning. With a newly expanded universe of customer touchpoints and journey navigation, there are countless new avenues for data acquisition - a point which reinforces the need for high quality journey mapping. But the challenge for loyalty marketers will be more than just acquiring new data - a methodology for seamless incorporation into the existing information pipeline must be developed.

LISTEN TO CUSTOMER FEEDBACK FOR BETTER EXPERIENCES

The BOPIS model is new for both brands and customers alike. And while marketers might have grand visions for the evolution and widespread adoption of the model, at the end of the day, the customer experience must be kept personal and in line with the customer's best interests. BOPIS is still in its infancy, and the establishment of BOPIS into leading retail loyalty programs will likely be a turbulent moment for the industry. That is precisely why marketers must open up channels for dialogue and feedback to proactively refine BOPIS if long-term success is to be ensured.

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