I’m a self-diagnosed online shopaholic. I’d say 85% of my purchases happen online. Why would I go to the store when retailers send purchases to my house astonishingly fast? For as much as I shop online, I’ve never been a big fan of BOPIS (buy online pick up in-store). I think the reason for this is because the user experience is usually pretty poor.
In the age of COVID, the focus on BOPIS has increased for the average consumer (me included). Per CNBC, in April, Target has had weeks when drive-up volume was up to seven times greater than normal. Seven times! Because of this uptick, and retailers’ need to generate revenue with stores closed, I’ve seen considerable changes in the BOPIS User Experience. It used to be that the online user experience was complete once you clicked the submit order button. Online automation transitioned to an in-person customer service experience. For example, eight weeks ago, I ordered a store pick up at Home Depot. Once my order was ready, I received an email. I had to go to the store, go to customer service, show my email and driver’s license, and then wait for someone to locate my item. It was a hassle, and as we’re all trying to social distance, there were many contact points. There was no automation or thought given to the user experience after I had hit the checkout button. It was as if my user journey was complete once I left the site.
Currently, I find myself more inclined to select pick up as I can get my products the same day and not have to wait for delayed processing and shipping. In the last several weeks, I’ve also seen considerable improvements in the pick-up user experience. I recently ordered an item from The Container Store and couldn’t believe how great the experience was. I received an email when the item was ready for pick up, which is pretty standard, but there was a button at the bottom that said: “I have arrived at the store.” Once I arrived, there was clear signage directing me to the pick-up location, I hit the button, and an employee came out and loaded my purchase into my car. The addition of the “I’m Here” button significantly improved the user experience. It was refreshing to see because it means companies are taking into account the user journey that happens after checkout.
Other ways brands are engaging with users after checkout is encouraging the use of apps. This allows for push notifications, pick up tracking, and easy repeat shopping. Letting users opt-in for text notifications can also be a great way to engage with them after checkout. And when all else fails, never underestimate the power of a good sign. Clear signage and directions at the pickup point is an IRL user experience.
As someone that spends most of their waking hours thinking about user behaviors, this focus on BOPIS feels significant. By thinking about the UX end to end allows users to better engage with the brand and make them more likely to return. I hope companies continue to embrace this thinking even after this crisis ends.