Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS): What Retailers Should Know

March 1, 2022

Trevir Nath

Bags in trunk to signify BOPIS

A new trend has emerged in retail that’s allowed business owners to showcase the best parts of their so-called “outdated” storefronts and their fledgling Ecommerce platforms. 

It’s called buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), and it comes with a host of benefits for retailers who adopt the omnichannel approach. 

Here’s what retailers need to know about BOPIS, the benefits it brings, and the challenges it may present. 

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What does BOPIS mean for retailers?

BOPIS is shorthand for “buy online, pick up in-store.” As the name implies, shoppers use this option to make a purchase online, but instead of waiting days for their package to arrive on their doorsteps, they perform the last-mile delivery themselves and pick up the package at the store. 

Both shoppers and retailers have come to enjoy what the click and collect method can offer. For shoppers, they no longer have to worry about shipping delays or surprise shipping costs, and for retailers, it presents an opportunity to increase in-store foot traffic and upsell current customers. 

This isn’t a new concept, though—it’s been around for almost a decade, but it only became popular in the months and now years following the initial pandemic outbreak. Shoppers needed a way to stay socially distanced as they shopped for groceries and other necessities, and BOPIS met that need. 

But even as retail returns to “normal,” most experts believe BOPIS won’t give back any of its recent traction. 

Insider Intelligence estimates that the hybrid approach accounted for nearly 10% of all Ecommerce sales in 2020, more than double what it had generated in 2019. By 2024, some estimates suggest BOPIS sales will hit $140 billion or about 17% of all Ecommerce sales. 

Benefits of offering BOPIS: Shoppers love it

BOPIS may sound like another meaningless acronym but it has become a popular choice for online shoppers, and the data bears that out. Nearly 64% of shoppers used BOPIS to make a purchase in 2021, with as many as 20% reporting to have used the option frequently. The primary draw of the click and collect method is convenience. 

No one wants to wait for their package to arrive, especially when delivery times can extend multiple days or weeks. With BOPIS, wait times shrink to as little as a few hours. 

For instance, shoppers can order a new computer in the morning and pick it up the same day—without ever waiting in line or stepping foot in the store. 

Other reasons shoppers gravitate to BOPIS are:

  • Seeing the product before taking it home
  • Avoiding unnecessary shipping costs
  • Instantly returning a product  

Benefits of offering BOPIS: Increases sales

Retailers benefit from BOPIS in two significant ways: they satisfy shoppers needs and open a new revenue stream. In cases when shoppers pick up in-store and not curbside, it offers retailers an additional chance to upsell customers on services or accessories. One study found that 85% of shoppers make additional in-store purchases when they pick up items purchased online. 

Besides upselling customers, retailers may also bring down their shipping costs and improve their inventory management. Shoppers today take two-day shipping for granted. After all, every major retailer offers the perk, so how hard could it be for business to ship quicker. 

But the truth is, it’s a significant undertaking for retailers, especially those without intricate fulfillment networks. By shipping to the store instead of a shopper’s home, retailers can relieve the stress put on their supply chain and save on shipping costs. 

Challenges retailers face with the click and collect method

The trend towards BOPIS hasn’t come without risks. Bad actors have stalked the omnichannel approach in order to exploit retailers for their own personal gain. 

Retailers may now be wondering, “Why would I willingly offer a service that’s a hotbed for fraud?” And they’re not wrong in having these concerns. A recent study found that 7% of all BOPIS transactions were suspected of fraud, well above the 4.6% attempted fraud rate in other channels. 

Why BOPIS is a hotbed for fraud 

Unlike traditional online purchases, BOPIS purchases give bad actors multiple loopholes to buy online, pick up in-store and never pay. For one, click and collect shoppers don’t come up against the same advanced fraud detection algorithms that online shoppers face.

No one at the store verifies their billing or shipping address, often major red flags for fraud. At best, the store associate may verify a shopper’s identity, and in most cases, a fraudster will use a fake ID. 

The other thing fraudsters exploit is the convenience of BOPIS. When shoppers pick up in-store, they expect their order to be ready within a few hours. For that to happen, a number of things must go right. The store must successfully process the order through their inventory management system, real-world store, and website

Even the smallest breakdown in communication gives fraudsters enough time to act. For example, some bad actors will place an order online, cancel the order moments later, and pick up the original order before an in-store associate can be notified of the change. 

How to combat BOPIS fraud

As more companies embrace BOPIS, you’ll have to take a tougher stance on security and fraud prevention. Here are a few ways to combat BOPIS fraud. 

1. Employ a dynamic payment processor

Retailer’s payment processor is an effective first line of defense against BOPIS fraud. With a full suite of tools, Bolt helps thousands of retailers eliminate fraud, track unusual shopper behavior and process payments, amongst more. 

Using one integrated system means retailers no longer have to jump between platforms to chase a trail of breadcrumbs that bad actors may leave behind. Visibility into potentially ilicity activity is available in one easy-to-use dashboard. 

2. Screen fraud online and in-store

Fraud is more interconnected than ever before. What happens online is just as much connected to what happens in the real world, and vice versa. As a result retailers should start screening BOPIS shoppers at the first point of contact (online). Waiting to do so until the point of purchase (in-store) gives bad actors too much lead time to act up. But by starting earlier in the process, retailers can root out fraud quicker. 

In practice, retailers can employ the same fraud screening tools to screen a BOPIS shopper as they would a traditional online shopper. If done correctly, fraudsters never reach the “pick up in-store” part of the BOPIS acronym. Discrepancies in their personal information or other suspicious activity are picked up before then. 

Bolt is an effective tool to make this happen. We use 200 real-time behavioral signals and supervised machine learning to measure fraud threats. We will also cross-check other relevant information like shipping and billing address to verify shoppers’ identity. 

3. Look at the complete picture

Fraud may seem like an isolated incident; a fraudster exploits a retailer and never returns to the scene of the crime. But in reality, the same bad actor is using the same trick at numerous retailers. 

Getting ahead of this is straightforward: ask nearby retailers if they’ve experienced the same fraud. Of course, it’ll take a lot of time to crack the case. An even simpler solution is Bolt. 

The Bolt Network supports thousands of merchants selling to tens of millions of shoppers. If a transaction looks suspicious, there’s a good chance another retailer on the Bolt Network has seen and flagged the same customer. 

4. Screen fraud in real-time

The blessing and curse of BOPIS is its convenience. Convenience allows shoppers to pick up orders within an hour of making a purchase. It also exposes retailers to higher incidences of fraud. Bolt makes it so retailers never have to make that tradeoff again. 

We employ numerous real-time signals to detect suspicious patterns in shoppers’ behavior. And when our quantitative evaluation doesn’t cut it,  we have an expert team ready to review any order in question. 

5. Automated and scalable prevention

Detecting fraud at scale requires robust technology that can support retailers of all sizes of GMV. Retailers currently trust Bolt to screen tens of millions of shoppers buying billions of dollars in goods services. In short, retailers will never outgrow Bolt.

ThinkShop by Bolt does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. Contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation.