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The Risks and Rewards of In-Store Pickup this Holiday Season

Jennifer Polumbo
Solution Manager, Stores and Commerce

The holidays are one of the busiest times of year for retailers but in reality, it's manic for consumers too. Between the cooking, hosting friends and family, and endless gift shopping, most of us are looking for quick wins. One of the most popular options is leveraging in-store pickup. The ease of having someone locate, collect, and have my purchases waiting for me to pick up, is a huge time saver; and I am not alone. According to consumer research, The Topography of Retail, 77% of respondents use buy online pick up in store (BOPIS) at least once a week and last year we saw a 73% lift in this omni-journey on Black Friday alone.1

With 55% of consumers surveyed wanting to be able to reserve online for same day pick up, BOPIS is an expectation of many shoppers today. See what consumers have to say about this preferred purchase journey:

While BOPIS is a great option for shoppers, it can reap rewards or be a pitfall for a retailer. Standing out from the competition by supporting the multitude of shopping journeys is a great way to differentiate your brand and build customer loyalty. But this may come at a price:

  • The gamble a retailer takes when removing merchandise from the sales floor is that no one else can buy it. We know there are potential benefits, such as most store pickups usually have an upsell when a shopper adds items to their purchase once they are in the store. When you are managing your business to this expectation, you are most likely collecting payment in the store, so you can easily add items to the transaction and process as a single payment for the shopper.
  • An additional wager is on the table in this scenario since the shopper doesn’t have skin in the game. It hasn’t cost them anything to have you do the work but there is a cost for you as the retailer. This means taking a hard look and deciding how long you want to “hold” that store pickup. We all know life happens, so you probably want to give shoppers a window of time to make the pickup. These pickup expectations must be clear and effectively communicated to deter a negative experience when the customer arrives in the store to find their purchase was put back in inventory.

To combat the risk, retailers need the right tools to auto cancel pickups after a defined period of time. For a retailer who has a narrow inventory per item, they may opt to keep a shorter pick up time period in place than a retailer who has a wider inventory per item. A retailer needs to ensure their stores receive cancellation notifications, so they know to move the merchandise back out to the sale floor. 

It’s a fine line of giving a customer enough time to pick up their order but not waiting so long that when you restock the item on the shelf you have lost your window of opportunity to sell it or disappointed too many other customers in search of that item. Depending on the shopper you may be able to save the sale if you don’t have it in store by placing a delivery order but if they are like me and catching an airplane, it is a lost opportunity.

Automatic Cancellation of Unclaimed Orders

The option to auto-cancel customers’ orders after a defined period of time, thus relieving inventory for sale to another customer, is essential for today’s modern retailer. Oracle Retail Order Broker Cloud Service is a distributed order broker and drop ship software solution that enables retailers to complete more transactions across all channels that may otherwise be lost due to merchandise unavailability through the automatic cancellation of unclaimed orders. Oracle Retail Order Broker Cloud Service provides the real-time inventory information necessary to complete transactions on-demand through alternative fulfillment methods, such as direct shipment from another warehouse or store, or scheduling a store pickup.

Interested in learning more about Oracle Retail Order Broker? Check out:


1Record Mobile Sales Hit $2B On Biggest Black Friday Ever: 'BOPIS' Growing Fast

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