Walking into a brick-and-mortar store is still the most popular way to shop. According to the third annual JDA Consumer Survey, 54% of respondents chose stores over any other methods (online, mobile, or social media),
And, it’s apparent that shoppers value their time as 75% stated they favored a quick and easy shopping experience where the merchandise they want is in-stock over being offered a personalized experience.
The several key findings that show convenience is an integral part of customers’ shopping experience – whether it’s to return an item or obtain a product sooner – retailers have an opportunity to capitalize on fulfillment services like “Buy Online, Pickup In-Store” (BOPIS) and “Buy Online, Return In-Store” (BORIS) to achieve profitability this holiday season and garner in-store foot traffic.
An earlier study by JDA revealed that consumers are fully embracing in-store fulfillment due to the convenience it provides. In fact, half of the respondents reported that they have used BOPIS in the last 12 months, which saw a 44% increase since the 2015 JDA Voice of the Consumer survey.
The ability to get the product sooner was stated as the top reason shoppers chose to use BOPIS (33% of respondents). For retailers looking to leverage BOPIS to drive in-store foot traffic, offering incentives may be the key.
Eighty percent of respondents stated they would consider using the service if retailers offered price discounts or incentives. This would, in turn, add value to the consumer shopping experience, while pushing retailers to differentiate themselves from competitors through special offers.
Preparing for the holiday season also includes preparing for the returns afterward. Consumers have a clear desire for easier returns as over 30% of respondents used BORIS to avoid the hassle of returns online. And almost one in five respondents (17%) believed they would receive their refund or exchange faster through this service.
It’s clear that retailers are also embracing store fulfillment and recognizing the staffing requirements needed to enable BOPIS and BORIS services. According to CEO Viewpoint: The Transformation of Retail survey findings announced in February, retail CEOs are increasing their investment in BOPIS, with 51% of survey respondents saying they offer or plan to offer BOPIS in the next 12 months – up from 47% in 2016.
By offering these fulfillment services, it’s important that retailers are equipped to meet customer demands. Based on the second annual JDA Voice of the Store Manager survey findings, announced in September, 60% of store managers plan to hire the same amount of temporary labor for the 2017 holiday season as they did last year; while 24% plan to hire more this year.
However, the focus of the seasonal staff may be changing to meet customer demand; over 40% of seasonal holiday hires will be for fulfillment at stores/warehouses and not customer-facing The other fulfillment area that store managers are planning to increase hiring for is BOPIS, with one in three respondents hiring temporary staff specifically for the service this year.
“These results illustrate that store managers are in tune with customer expectations, particularly leading into the crucial holiday shopping season,” says Jim Prewitt, JDA's vice president of retail industry strategy.
“Increasing BOPIS staffing, for example, will eliminate some of the challenges shoppers have had with the service, like long wait times and associates having trouble finding their items,” Prewitt adds. “Unified commerce execution is a theme we have seen repeatedly across four surveys this year.”