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In-store pick-up not a time-saver

News, 06 January 2015

NEW YORK: Consumers who opt to buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS) are saving themselves only 96 seconds on average according to study of 11 US retailers.

StellaService, a customer service performance analyst, sent walk-in and BOPIS shoppers into stores – including Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe's, Macy's, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Sears, Staples, Target, Toys 'R' Us and Walmart – at the same time and measured how long they spent.

On average online pick-up took 5.4 minutes while traditional in-store shopping lasted 7 minutes, reported Retail Wire.

For in-store shoppers the times ranged from just 3.5 minutes in Target to 16.5 minutes in Sears. For BOPIS shoppers the comparable figures were 2 minutes, in Office Depot, and 8.5 minutes, in both Home Depot and Macy's.

Of all the retailers evaluated, three – Home Depot, Macy's and Nordstrom – had faster average in-store shops compared to BOPIS.

The study further found that the time spent at check-out represented just 15% of the total spent in an outlet by in-store shoppers, compared to 58% for BOPIS shoppers.

That could be improved on, said the study. "If BOPIS proves popular with consumers, you can expect retailers to continue to invest in a more efficient process," noted Kevon Hills, vp/research, StellaService.

But as many shoppers are doing the hard work of researching and choosing online, they are unlikely to be particularly exercised by the extra 90 seconds spent in store. Of greater concern may be the time taken before their order is ready for pick up and on average this amounted to just over one hour.

There was a significant range, however, with availability confirmation coming in just ten minutes at Best Buy and Lowe's and rising to 2 hours and 26 minutes at Macy's and a similar 2 hours and 20 minutes at Sears.

Another potential bugbear for BOPIS shoppers is finding the right pick-up point in store. Stella Service reported that these were clearly visible when entering Best Buy, Lowe's and Target, while Nordstrom let shoppers pick up from any service desk, regardless of product type.

Data sourced from Retail Wire; additional content by Warc staff