BOPIS: Be careful what you wish for

From a recent RetailWire discussion, I comment on the move toward omnichannel initiatives like “Buy online, pick up in store” (BOPIS). I think there are two broader challenges brought on by BOPIS specifically and stores’ rush to create an “omnichannel” experience in general:

First, brick and mortar stores are devoting more of their associates’ hours to off-the-floor activity (such as pulling and readying BOPIS orders) instead of face-to-face customer interaction still expected in most physical stores. And, since store payrolls are unlikely to grow in a flat sales environment, this trend is eroding one of the key reasons why shoppers visit brick-and-mortar locations in the first place.

Second, stores are trying to emulate in their physical locations the breadth of assortment found on their websites. This is meant to make the BOPIS fulfillment process easier, or at least to offer the customer more choices. But sometimes the customer wants more editing, not more assortment, and the resultant clutter and lack of focus does nothing to make the shipping trip more appealing.

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