What’s in store for click-and-collect?

From retailers like IKEA to restaurants like Freshii, how brands are making sure "BOPIS" options can meet customers where they are.

As an acronym, BOPIS doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but “buy online, pick up in-store” rollouts could soon be the order of the day. According to Zebra Retail Solutions data, 90% of major retailers plan on implementing some form of it by 2021.

Companies are responding to this trend, whether they call it click and collect or BOPIS or some other term. Walmart, for example, is all in when it comes to that business model, launching Super Bowl creative touting its BOPIS capabilities and testing numerous options for ways to make the process easier. In Canada, Loblaw and Canadian Tire have expanded their own click and collect options in recent years.

Speaking at the first day of Dx3 on March 10, IKEA’s acting country digital manager Kevin Gamble says the brand’s model is to “fail fast and try to push a culture of try something, and if it works, awesome, build it and if it doesn’t, take lessons learned and move on.” While IKEA’s smaller-format online order pickup locations in Canada have closed, the company has taken learnings from that multi-year experiment, as well as those from its other markets, to find out how to continue to capitalize on this change in customer behaviour.

Last summer, IKEA Canada introduced a nationwide $5 dollar off click and collect service, a model that it had been using in Europe, which Michael Ward, the company’s Canadian president, said was brought here because it fit with the ways Canadians like to shop amidst their rapidly changing lives, spurred by increasing urbanization, new technology and digitalization.

In the past, Gamble says, retailers used to define where their customers met them, but now it’s the reverse. He says giving customers the option to shop the way they want, while making the experience consistent across those different channels, is key; IKEA Canada has 14 bricks-and-mortar stores, an eCommerce virtual store and 17 collection points.

But for those hoping to beat the crowd, is the crowd now online? Gamble says that even though its BOPIS growth has outpaced in-store growth, it has far from cannibalized it, as in-store has still moved 2% higher year-over-year. The brand hopes, he says, that the instant gratification and secure aspect of a pickup, complemented by a fantastic in-store experience, will attract a bigger basket.

Tanvir Bhangoo, VP of technology at restaurant chain Freshii, says the fast casual restaurant business, like others, is being affected by a convenience-driven customer expectation of speed. Restaurants have had to respond to the likes of Ritual, an app that lets users to place an order and have the meal ready for pickup at a local restaurant, numerous delivery apps or by releasing their own apps.

With companies in this sector are taking a very tech-focused business model and attempting to replicate it, these options needs to be properly communicated, not just at the store level, but at the end-channel with the restaurants and staff working there as well, Bhangoo says, and have them buy into it.

And for management, a new concern becomes, “How can I ensure I have the capabilities and talent to tackle disruptive technologies of the future?”