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Technology is driving click-and-collect forward

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Retailers have been talking about buy online pick up in store for a long time.

Why? Because it’s always held great promise. But now, thanks to advances in technology, that promise is becoming a reality even for retailers in verticals who had been slow to embrace it, because of logistical challenges and consumers’ preference for seeing and touching certain products before buying.

In the video below, FitForCommerce Senior Vice President Kathy Kimple talks about what’s changing in the world of BOPIS, sometimes called click-and-collect, and what those changes mean for retailers in specific verticals.

As Kimple pointed out, evolving technology is helping retailers — even those selling big, bulky products — realize the promise of true omnichannel retail.

FitForCommerce with the National Retail Federation publishes an annual Omnichannel Retail Index that studies retailers’ features on mobile, on their websites, in their stores and across channels. That perspective has made it clear to Kimple that as technology advances, even retailers selling big, bulky items are beginning to realize the promise of true omnichannel retail.

With augmented reality no longer a distant dream, consumers are able to see what a sectional couch would look like against that living room wall, or wait, maybe what it would look like against the other wall. They can sift through different colors and fabrics, without leaving the comfort of the couch they are looking to replace.

Then, once they’re satisfied that they have the couch of their dreams, they can buy online and choose whether to have the furniture delivered or wether they’d rather pick it up in the store, which gives them a chance to see it in real reality and might mean they’d have their couch in their home sooner than if they waited for delivery.

BOPIS is key to true omnichannel

While BOPIS is great for consumer choice, it can also be a great thing for the retailer providing it. In our longer conversation, Kimple talked about how pick-up-in-store, along with ship-from-store, are key building blocks of a proper omnichannel experience and a way for retailers to compete in the age of Amazon.

“It helps the retailers deal with what we might call the Amazon effect of customers who now think it’s the norm that I get my order in two days,” she said. “If I’m a retailer and I’m really going omni, I can ship from store and get it to you faster. And from a retailer’s perspective, I’m saving on freight, because I’m shipping from a store near to you.”

Photo by iStock

Contact Mike Cassidy at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.

Mike Cassidy

Mike Cassidy

Mike is the head of storytelling at Signifyd. A former journalist and a retail geek, he covers ecommerce and the way technology is transforming digital commerce. Contact him at [email protected].