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06Jan, 2015

Challenges with Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPS)

Author Matt Category

In our last blog on Advantages of Buy Online Pickup in Store we had discussed reasons why BOPS is gaining in popularity. But BOPS comes with its own set of challenges and in this blog we will discuss few of these challenges.

Technical Infrastructure

Introducing prompt delivery options for retailers involve an extended network of infrastructure touching nearly every retail operational system. Lack of an integrated platform necessary for information flow from the heart of the supply chain to the hands of the customer derails the retailers from institutionalizing BOPS. Most retailers make the mistake of treating online as a separate business which will only make BOPS even more difficult to achieve.

Inventory Management

With increasing competition and number of consumer touch points inventory management has become very challenging; and BOPS adds to that complexity. For retailers to successfully adopt BOPS they will have to provide seamless communication between all its isolated channels (between online store and retail stores, between retail stores, etc.). The seamless communication will bring in transparency which is required for a more accurate inventory measurement.

Information Management

A number of businesses today operate in Franchisee model which can bring in a different kind of a challenge in implementing BOPS. One of the primary requirements of BOPS is to have an integrated system sharing information like customer, inventory, product, order, etc. across stores. With each store operated by a different franchisee (in most cases competing with each other) these retail stores might be reluctant to share this information with other stores.

Managing Sales Commissions

Even in BOPS store associates play a crucial role in delivering good customer experience.  Retailers cannot afford to ignore them and must deal with questions like who is the sale attributed to? who gets the commission? etc. delicately.  How retailers address these becomes critical as store associates are actively involved in handling customers directly and businesses also look forward to these store associates for fostering on cross selling opportunities.

Managing Returns

Return is a complicated process and BOPS can further add to that complexity. With customers picking their orders in store, they have an option to review the product and decide if they would like to continue with the purchase or return the product. With payment happening online who then takes the responsibility of refund. Also how will the store be compensated for the lost sales as he had to block the inventory for that order?

In spite of the challenges, retailers can leverage technology to streamline processes and overcome these challenges. Picking up online purchases in stores is a win-win strategy for retailers and shoppers alike. For shoppers, it’s a necessary convenience; they neither have to wait to receive their orders by mail nor pay high shipping costs. On the other hand, BOPS gives a significant competitive advantage over traditional methods to retailers and acts as an important step in becoming a real Omni channel player.

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Challenges with Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPS)