How BOPIS Order Tracking Solves Omnichannel Fulfillment Challenges

Updated: May 31, 2024


7 mins read

Convenience has become a driving force in retail experiences for consumers. Shoppers want flexibility, and merchants that offer it will see more sales and increased retention. 

One area where convenience has become crucial is in omnichannel commerce. Merchants need to create a cohesive experience between brick-and-mortar stores and online shopping. 

Enter BOPIS. It has emerged as a growth driver for retailers, but it also presents some challenges, especially when it comes to fulfillment. 

What is BOPIS?

BOPIS—or buy online, pick up in-store, is an omnichannel shopping experience where customers make purchases online and then collect their orders at a convenient physical store location, either through curbside pickup or at a designated spot in-store.

BOPIS is closely related to BOSS — or buy online, ship to store. BOSS happens when products to fulfill a BOPIS order are out of stock at the customer’s chosen store. The BOSS system will locate the product in stock at another location and ship it to the customer’s store for pick up. 

How BOPIS works for omnichannel commerce

More than 34% of shoppers in the United States regularly use BOPIS. From 2023 to 2030, BOPIS sales are projected to grow 16.8% annually, 43% faster than eCommerce overall. Merchants that are positioned to meet that growing demand will have an advantage over their competitors who lag behind. 

Benefits of BOPIS for shoppers and merchants

BOPIS offers numerous advantages for both retailers and customers, including:

Increased foot traffic and cross-sell opportunities

BOPIS brings more customers into your store, giving you the chance to engage them further. A whopping 85% of shoppers have made additional purchases when they come in to pick up their online orders.

Reduced shipping expenses

By using your stores as pickup points, BOPIS cuts down on shipping costs. This eliminates the need for last-mile deliveries, saving you money on shipping fees.

Quicker service

When customers need something fast, BOPIS is the way to go. Ordering an in-stock item online and picking it up within an hour is much faster than waiting for delivery, provided the pickup happens during business hours.

Stronger brand image

Customers appreciate having options like in-store pickup, home delivery, and traditional shopping. Offering a consistent experience across all these channels strengthens your brand.

Omnichannel fulfillment challenges with BOPIS

Given all the benefits, you might consider BOPIS an easy win for you and your customers. However, before you dive in, it's crucial to understand some of the complexities that come with omnichannel fulfillment. Here are some common challenges retailers face:

Split fulfillment processes

Managing orders that include both online shipping and in-store pickup can be tricky. Different parts of an order might be handled separately, leading to potential inconsistencies in timing and availability.

Communication and order updates

Clear communication is essential but can be challenging when different items in an order have different fulfillment methods. Customers may receive separate updates for shipping and pickup, which can be confusing. Consistent communication helps maintain a smooth experience.

Pickup process variations

Variations in the pickup process across different stores can lead to confusion. Some stores might have dedicated pickup counters, while others require customers to find their items within the store, affecting overall satisfaction.

Time to fulfillment and in-store storage space

As your BOPIS program grows, managing an increasing number of orders and inventory space can become difficult. Rapid growth without adequate preparation can lead to customer dissatisfaction due to unfulfilled or delayed orders.

Integration complexities

Integrating various systems, such as eCommerce platforms, inventory management, and fulfillment systems, can be complex. Seamless data synchronization and real-time visibility require the right technology, dedicated resources, and expertise.

How AfterShip’s solutions help solve omnichannel fulfillment challenges

AfterShip Tracking helps merchants deliver seamless omnichannel shopping experiences. Here’s how:

Consistent order visibility for split fulfillment 

Businesses with longer processing times or unique fulfillment processes need flexibility to keep buyers updated on their order status. With AfterShip, merchants can customize the fulfillment status, control the visibility on tracking pages, and trigger notifications at each step.

AfterShip provides real-time tracking status when an order has multiple split shipments or uses mixed fulfillment strategies. For example, imagine a customer orders three items — one is shipped directly to their home, one is picked up in-store, and one is shipped to the store for pick-up. You and your customer will have full visibility into where each item is in the process, leading to increased customer satisfaction and fewer WISMO tickets.

You can also send shoppers a consolidated email with detailed information about split shipments. This email will provide an overview of the items to be shipped as well as information on any additional shipments containing other items.

BOPIS/BOSS branded tracking page and notifications

With AfterShip, businesses can proactively communicate with customers via BOPIS and BOSS tracking pages and notifications, enabling them to prepare for order pickups. The Branded Tracking Page allows shoppers to see a progress bar, order items, detailed pick-up instructions, estimated pick-up times, and map locations.

You can also reduce customer anxiety and build anticipation with real-time email and SMS notifications when their BOPIS/BOSS order status updates. With automated flows and customizable templates, you can always deliver on-brand, personalized communication.

Coming soon: Shoppers will be able to show a pick-up bar code on the tracking page to your store staff, who can then quickly verify and match the order, and automatically update the pick-up status once the barcode is scanned.

Connected data and internal notifications for optimized fulfillment

With AfterShip Tracking analytics, businesses can do the following:

  • Analyze past lead times during peak seasons and adjust fulfillment strategies to accommodate possible delays or overloads. 
  • Plan your stocks, storage space in-store, and staff operations in advance based on peak season order and fulfillment data.
  • Identify supply chain inefficiencies by comparing the actual lead time and the target lead time. If the target is not met, identify the particular stage that fell short and take appropriate action.
  • To process orders faster, send order status notifications to the internal team or stakeholders, such as stores and wholesalers. 

Coming soon: AfterShip Tracking customers will be able to visualize pick-up-specific information for BOPIS and BOSS orders, including pick-up status, pick-up location, and more, on a centralized dashboard. 

Reduce integration complexities with AfterShip’s all-in-one solutions

To deliver a seamless omnichannel experience, you need to have a unified back-end, and that means having a tech stack where everything works together. AfterShip easily integrates with major eCommerce platforms, order management systems, and warehouse management systems like Shopify, IBM Sterling OMS, Manhatten OMS, Shipbob, and more.

AfterShip helps eCommerce merchants create harmony between important customer touchpoints with a unified back-end system. Our full order tracking solutions allow merchants and shoppers to track order statuses across different channels, from online to offline. Based on this capability, retailers can provide shoppers with a unified commerce experience across their shopping journey and touchpoints with order lifecycle visibility and in-depth data analysis. Learn more.

Discover more of what matters to you

Get the week's best eCommerce content

Recommended from AfterShip