BOPIS and BOSS – Two approaches to secure in-store shopping experiences

September 15, 2021

Omnichannel shopping experiences have long become standard practice for customers of giants like Walmart, Target, and Amazon. Strategies such as BOPIS and BOSS allow shoppers to order goods online and pick them up at their local stores, bridging the gap between e-commerce and in-store shopping experiences. 

Due to COVID-19, providing customers with ways of purchasing goods in-store safely and without long waits has become crucial. Let’s look at the two most common strategies that combine digital orders and pick up in-store. 

What is the difference between BOPIS and BOSS? 

First, let’s define the two most common hybrid retail and e-commerce strategies. 

BOPIS is short for “buy online, pick up in-store” and, as the name suggests, lets customers order items online, then pick them up in their local store. A standard BOPIS workflow, also known as “Click & Collect,” looks like this: 

  1. The customer selects products they want to order on the retailer's website. 
  2. Now, they check availability at their nearest store. 
  3. All items are available at that store. Thus, the customer chooses to pick them up instead of opting for home delivery. 
  4. They place the order online and receive a confirmation message. Then, they wait to be notified that the ordered items are ready for pick-up. 
  5. A sales associate at the local store handles the BOPIS order by collecting the ordered articles and preparing them for pick-up. Usually, orders are ready within a few hours. 
  6. After receiving an email telling them that their order is ready, the customer picks up their items at the physical store and pays. 

By offering BOPIS as an alternative to conventional e-commerce, retailers establish a shopping experience that combines the comfort of placing orders online with the immediacy of grabbing products directly from the shop, thus enhancing the customer experience immensely. 

Additionally, transport and delivery costs of goods are reduced drastically. Likewise, the frequency of returns, and thus the effort required for reverse logistics, is lowered. 

What’s more, customer traffic is directed back to the branch, rather than restricted to online retailing. Thus, sales revenue from in-store purchases increases. 

In contrast, the BOSS (“buy online, ship to store”) approach is closer to typical e-commerce processes:

  1. The customer selects products they want to order on the retailer's website. 
  2. When completing the order, the customer chooses delivery to either their own address or to the nearest store. 
  3. Because the articles are not available at the store yet, they are shipped either from warehouses or other stores in the area. This process takes up to a few days. 
  4. Once the order arrives at the chosen location, the customer is notified that their items are ready for pick-up. 

Transporting goods between warehouses and various stores as part of internal logistics operations with their own distribution centers is significantly more cost-efficient than commercial direct-to-customer shipping. 

Additionally, both approaches increase customer satisfaction, as shoppers receive their items quickly and without added shipping costs.

Handling BOPIS and BOSS – digitization is the key

For both omnichannel retail approaches, it’s essential to have a flawlessly connected supply chain with automated order and inventory management systems. Only then, orders can be handled with the speed and accuracy required to keep customer satisfaction and productivity at a peak. 

Barcodes are a crucial aspect of these smooth logistics and retail processes. Without them, goods can’t be tracked, registered, ordered, or accounted for at the checkout. 

Thus, accurate barcode scanning solutions are key elements of the supply and distribution chain. Smartphones offer the perfect basis for streamlined inventory management, ordering processes, and preparing Click & Collect orders for pick-up. 

All necessary information can be displayed and processed immediately on the device, eliminating the need for computers to connect to internal servers and store management software. 

Scanbot’s Barcode v3 SDK is the best way to integrate cutting-edge barcode scanning functionalities into your mobile app or website. Easy-to-use, fast integration, and high-quality 


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