The Pros and Cons of BOPIS


Logistics innovations

Even before the pandemic, the buy-online-pickup-in-store purchasing model was gaining steam. According to Business Insider, 68% of consumers had used BOPIS by the winter of 2019. The BOPIS model benefits both retailers and the consumer. A few benefits of BOPIS include reducing logistics and staffing costs while consumers receive choice and convenience.

But there are downsides associated with the BOPIS strategy that, if not addressed, could turn a profitable business strategy into a drag on margin. So, today we explore the pros and cons of the buy-online-pickup-in-store service.

What is BOPIS?

BOPIS is an acronym for Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store. Retailers with an online presence developed the model where consumers could purchase products online and pick them up from a store in person. BOPIS intends to eliminate the logistical cost of shipping, long delivery times, and the challenges of having the wrong product delivered.

Conceptually, BOPIS is not new. Long before the internet, customers would often call retailers and request products be placed on hold for pick up at a later time. Although the customer did not formally purchase the product over the phone, retailers saw this as an opportunity to provide a level of convenience otherwise not available.

As online shopping became mainstream, BOPIS services became a natural fit to couple the convenience of purchasing online and the ability to pick up when convenient for the consumer. As a result, the BOPIS concept evolved as one of the best strategies businesses could deploy. Then, as the pandemic shut down in-person commerce, BOPIS became an essential service. For many companies, BOPIS saved their business.


Convenience – Consumers do not experience any delays in the delivery of their purchase. Further, shoppers may choose the time (and often the place) to pick up their items. The model also ensures consumers receive the right product as they are in-store to obtain an immediate replacement should the product not be as expected.

No Delivery Charges – Most consumers agree that using the BOPIS model is beneficial as it does not have shipping costs associated with it. Pick-up in-store is effective, even when the customer sends someone to pick up the order as it is still often cheaper than having the retailer deliver the product.

Photo of a red commercial smart locker

Conceptual fashion Smart Locker

Increased Sales – Most consumers tend to make more online purchases when they know they can pick up their packages in-store. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), most shoppers who purchase using the BOPIS model add products to their carts.

Increased Customer Loyalty – The BOPIS model offers a choice to the consumer. And having choices is what today’s consumers demand. For retailers, loyalty means higher profits considering just a 5% increase in loyalty can lead to a 25% increase in profit.


Long Lines – When customers choose similar times to pick up their online orders, long lines at service counters can result. Long lines often occur during a store’s business hours. Additional staff either need to be hired or be pulled away from other customers to meet the pick-up demand. A service that was meant to bring speed and convenience turns into wasted time and frustration.

Time Consuming – Some consumers may find the strategy more time-consuming, especially when they think about going to the store, finding the pick-up location inside, and potentially having to wait in line. Many shoppers will always prefer home delivery, and others won’t consider BOPIS until they have confidence that he experience will meet their expectations.

High Staff Costs – With stores full of shoppers and online orders coming in, retailers face a dilemma. While BOPIS reduces the cost of shipping purchases, that savings can quickly disappear if additional staff must be hired or the in-store experience suffers.

Lack of Dedicated Space – The customer service desk often became the default location to operate BOPIS services. For many retailers, space was already at a premium. Inefficiency set in when the pandemic increased BOPIS utilization as organizing purchases for pick-up became a headache, further impacting the customer experience.

Improving the BOPIS Experience

For retailers, improving BOPIS is critical to match the consumers’ needs with the potential logistics savings. Fortunately, a solution gaining significant traction throughout the retail industry – the Smart Parcel Locker.

Smart Lockers solve many challenges retailers face when executing their BOPIS strategy. A few of their benefits include:

Dedicated Space – Smart Locker slots are assigned to each pick-up item. Automatic sensors instantaneously provide data to the retailer of how many and what size slots are available at any given time. Additionally, retailers set alerts for orders not picked up, allowing staff to remove products and return to in-store shelves.

Reduced Staff Requirements – Smart Lockers are self-service, meaning customers can avoid the customer service desk to retrieve their purchase. Orders may also be deposited during off-peak hours to maximize staff productivity.

Marketing Opportunities – One of the lesser-known benefits of Smart Lockers is the marketing opportunities. Their size and shape make for a perfect billboard. But, more specifically, Smart Lockers can distribute samples, give reward points, provide same-day in-store promotions, or surprise shoppers with locker raffles. The possibilities are endless.

BOPIS is here to stay. Retailers who leverage the latest in available technologies, including Smart Lockers, will gain the edge necessary to compete in today’s highly competitive retail world.

To learn more about how your organization can maximize smart lockers to reduce cost, increase revenue, and delight your customers, contact the ParcelPort team online by visiting, email at or calling 1-800-818-0870.