BOPIS and BOPIL? Buy Online Pick Up in Store or Locker?

The pandemic ushered in the age of contactless commerce—and it might be here to stay. Learn how businesses are including lockers in their Buy Online, Pick Up in Store options.

Fri Jul 16 07:04:00 EDT 2021
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BOPIS and BOPIL. Are they just another pair of here-today gone-tomorrow acronyms? Or transformative methods of getting your goods into your customers’ hands that you’ll rely on for years to come?

Dive into the pros and cons of each and learn whether your business can benefit from the Buy Online Pick Up in Store and Buy Online Pick Up in Locker trends.

Smart lockers transform parcel & asset management 

Discover flexible smart parcel locker solutions that deliver safety, security and convenience. 

To BOPIS or BOPIL? A question for the digital age

The acronyms are unwieldy, but the concept is simple. A consumer buys online then picks up in a store or locker. There you have it! BOPIS and BOPIL.

BOPIS has been with us for a while. Many multi-channel retailers offer a “pick up in store” option when consumers order from them online. And BOPIS saw a huge bump in demand when contactless consumerism became a make-or-break strategy during the pandemic. Doubtless many of those retailers wished they also had a locker pickup option in place to supplement their BOPIS.  

Is BOPIS or BOPIL right for your business? Will we ever get used to saying BOPIS and BOPIL? Let’s discuss the ins and outs of the first question and leave the second one for history to decide.

BOPIS: Consumer trend or enduring business strategy?

So how much did BOPIS, or the service formerly known as “click and collect”, increase during the recent lockdowns? By a lot. According to Insider Intelligence1, US BOPIS sales grew by 106.9%. The circumstances for that growth might be exceptional, but consumers often embrace a trend for one reason and keep it alive for many others.

Here are just a few of reasons customers love BOPIS and so should retailers.

Why consumers love BOPIS

  • Savings: Allows them to avoid shipping and delivery fees
  • Speed: In most cases they can get their purchases faster  
  • Convenience: They can shop at home and pick up at their leisure
  • Returns: It simplifies the process and eliminates the cost

Why retailers should love BOPIS too

  • Profits: Can’t afford to offer free shipping? Offer BOPIS instead 
  • Profits: Last-mile logistics can be time-consuming and expensive 
  • Profits: It increases foot traffic and upselling opportunities 

But wait a minute…

BOPIS has its detractors and naysayers as well. Whether that BOPIS order is picked up in-store or via curbside service, someone on staff needs to pick it, pack it and alert the recipient that it’s ready for pickup. And if this process isn’t handled efficiently, your happy BOPIS customer might leave TDTR (too disgruntled to return).  

This is where BOPIL enters the conversation.

BOPIL: Old school storage with a digital twist

BOPIL is similar to BOPIS, only less hands-on and a little smarter. Rather than standing in line at a service counter or waiting outside on the curb, a consumer collects their online purchase from a smart locker pickup location at a retailer’s store.

Smart lockers differ from standard lockers in one critical way: they’re technology-enabled for chain-of-custody tracking and automated pickup alerts. Most include digital flourishes like touchscreens and scanners. And some can even be tailored based on your space, order volume and brand aesthetic, with the ability to scale as your needs change.

Consumers and retailers who embrace BOPIS will love BOPIL even more. 

Why consumers love BOPIL

  • Experience: It delivers a frictionless, no-lines, no-wait experience 
  • Contactless: No human interaction of any kind is required
  • Security: Assured and safe storage of mail, parcels and assets
  • Automation: Prompt, automated notification of incoming items

Why retailers love BOPIL

  • Automation: Minimizes the steps and staff needed to fill an order
  • Accuracy: Reduces delivery delays and number of misplaced packages
  • Enhanced service: Offers a secure, convenient, autonomous experience
  • Profits: All the things that make BOBIS profitable apply to BOPIL

How BOPIL works

  1. Staff picks order, logs it and delivers it to a locker 
  2. An automated notification with barcode is sent to a customer alerting them to pick up their order
  3. Customer scans their barcode and retrieves their package from the locker at their convenience

BOPIS and BOPIL: Better together

Think of BOPIL as a complement to BOPIS. In-store pickup is predicted to increase even more over the coming years. Giving consumers more options, more convenience and more ways to buy might offer the competitive edge you’re looking for.