Several years ago, as brick-and-mortar retailers searched for ways to remain relevant in these tech-centric times, some forward-looking marketers experimented with combining online and in-store shopping. One method, called "buy online, pickup in-store" (BOPIS), allowed consumers to purchase products via their phones or computers, then get the merchandise in person at a store. Customers were often disappointed, however, as retailers discovered that making BOPIS work involved a variety of logistical and marketing challenges.
But more recently, some big box stores, grocery chains, and other retailers have stepped up their BOPIS game, tinkering with the formula and finding greater success. These companies, from Nike to The Home Depot, are doing everything from improving pickup systems to adding special parking sections for BOPIS buyers. "With recent improvements to service and the customer experience, consumers are flocking to it," says Steve Osburn, a managing director at Accenture Strategy.