The popular fulfillment strategy known as buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) is easier said than done, as more than six in 10 shoppers reports having a “mixed or generally bad experience” with the process, according to market research from the warehouse automation and robotics vendor GreyOrange.
The data comes from a survey of more than 2,000 consumers across the U.S., U.K., Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg released today at “NRF 2021: Chapter One,” the virtual trade show held this week by the National Retail Federation (NRF).
In other results, the survey showed that buyers shifted a majority of their 2020 purchases to online platforms due to Covid-19 conditions, but more than half of buyers expect to resume pre-pandemic buying patterns when possible. The statistics showed that reasons for shoppers’ plans to return to stores included the 62% who reported a mixed or generally bad experience with BOPIS, as well as those who complained of a “challenging return process” and said it negatively impacted their buying decision.
“The takeaway from these survey results is that uncertainty persists in both the minds of the buyer and in the market, which makes resiliency in product fulfillment operations even more critical to retailers’ success so they can quickly adapt to changing market demands and consumer expectations,” Jeff Cashman, GreyOrange’s senior vice president and COO, said in a release. “Retailers must be able to seamlessly pivot among channels so they can satisfy consumer demand wherever it is – in the store, online, or mixed with buy online, pick up in store.”
Those results happen to serve Atlanta-based GreyOrange’s interests, since the company makes technology that optimizes fulfillment operations through artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and robotics. But the trend also follows research from other sources showing that the pandemic has driven a growing need for retailers to compile more data on fulfillment operations in order to promote worker safety during the difficult conditions of the health crisis.
GreyOrange also found that more than one-third of respondents said their purchase decisions are “very much” influenced by companies that invest in advanced technology that protects worker safety and conditions, and 90% said they are at least ‘somewhat’ positively influenced by this factor. “The spotlight on worker safety and socially responsible work environments has never been brighter,” Cashman said. “This creates an added bonus value to the fulfillment resilience and speed advantages of investing in software and robots to modernize fulfillment.”