Offering shoppers buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) may seem like a must-have for any omnichannel retailer today, but what does the implementation process entail?
RIS catches up with Bi-Mart’s Patrick O’Connell, director of project development, to find out what challenges and benefits the retailer encountered while implementing BOPIS technologies over nine months.
For just over a year now, Bi-Mart has been able to sell its product assortment online, allowing member customers to pick up orders from either Bi-Mart or Cascade Farm and Outdoor stores. Customers may also place orders at CascadeFarmAndOutdoor.com and pick up from any Bi-Mart store they choose. The feature is available across its full brick-and-mortar presence — around 84 stores throughout the Northwest in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
“One of the top suggestions we were hearing from customers was ‘the ability to see merchandise assortment information online and complete that purchase through the website,’” O’Connell tells RIS. “Once the pandemic started in 2020, we prioritized our e-commerce and order management efforts to accommodate our customers’ needs, including introducing BOPIS. It took about nine months to implement Kibo’s e-commerce platform and order management system, and roll out our BOPIS program.”
Since the implementation, which also included working with e-commerce agency Ignitiv, Bi-Mart has seen an increase in website traffic and memberships. But the benefits didn’t come without challenges and one of the biggest was first making the website shoppable.
“Our customers couldn’t see product availability or information, or complete purchases on the old website,” explains O’Connell. “We had to implement an e-commerce platform as well as populate and catalog our merchandise system with the appropriate level of information needed for a customer to complete an online purchase. This included product details, product images, and categorizing items in a format that made sense for online shoppers.”
With Kibo, Bi-Mart was able to make the website shoppable and give its customers full visibility into product availability based on their store location and estimated pickup time.
Another key challenge of the BOPIS program was making sure the company had the processes, people, and roles in place to support and manage the various marketing and customer service functions associated with the website.
“Not only did we need to train our store associates on the program, but we also had to encourage customer enablement," he notes. "This meant creating a promotional plan to inform current customers about the new online shopping and fulfillment option and leveraging BOPIS messaging in our marketing campaigns to attract new shoppers.”
Buy-in From the Bi-Mart Frontline
A pioneer of membership, discount shopping—Bi-Mart offers a “deep discount” approach to merchandising brand name goods. The retailer’s lifetime membership costs $5.00 and it boasts over 1.2 million membership families, as well as 3,500 employees.
“Fortunately, our store associates were very welcoming of the BOPIS program,” says O’Connell. “Being on the frontline, they’re the ones hearing our customers’ concerns about the inability to shop on the old website.”