We live in the digital economy era where eCommerce and the retail sector are experiencing digital transformation every day. Thanks to the ever-changing consumer expectations and shopping behaviors. More than 263 million Americans shop online, and this figure is expected to reach 291.2 million by 2025. According to the Insider Intelligence forecast, US retail eCommerce sales are expected to grow 16.1%, reaching approximately 1.06 trillion USD in 2022.
New shopping models have now been developed to meet modern customer needs as the world of online retail is highly competitive. The omnichannel shopping approach, already adopted by eCommerce giants like Walmart, Amazon, and Target, represents a new trend called Buy Online, Ship-to-Store (BOSS) that is rapidly growing. This approach bridges the gap between Digital Commerce and in-store shopping, putting the customer at the heart of the retailer’s digital transformation strategy.
Let’s analyze this emerging in-store shopping trend that combines digital orders with pick-up in-store.
What Is Buy Online, Ship-to-Store (BOSS)?
BOSS online is a purchasing method that allows consumers to buy the product online even when it’s out of stock. However, instead of paying and shipping the product to their address, they get it shipped to the store and pick it up from the store.
BOSS is technically a subset of BOPIS that takes the idea of BOPIS one step ahead. Both channels start with online orders and end with a consumer in the store, but the logistics associated with BOSS retail are slightly different. As the retail sector continues to alter its omnichannel format, BOSS is expected to grow as the most suitable way to meet consumer demand and minimize the percentage of lost sales.
How Does BOSS Work?
Buy online, ship to store is a backend process that limits the need for stock in hand and allows for a smaller store footprint.
So how to ship online orders through BOSS?
- You select the product you want to order on the retailer’s website (even if it’s out of stock).
- After completing the order, you choose delivery to the nearest store.
- As the chosen product is not available at the store, it is shipped from the warehouse or other nearby stores. Therefore, it can take a few days for the product to arrive.
- Once your chosen product arrives at the store, you are notified to pick it up at your earliest.
Advantages of BOSS Retail
There are numerous significant benefits of buy online ship-to-store, which include the following:
- Shipping to the store is much cheaper than commercial direct-to-customer shipping. It saves a considerable amount of packing and labor costs.
- Sellers can also reduce returns with buy online ship to store retail.
- It optimizes your inventory and space by reducing the risk of stock-outs.
- The BOSS strategy also attracts customers to the store, increasing the possibility of conversions.
- It also eliminates the pressure off the stores and retailers to offer discounted items at the season end.
Best Practices to Handle Buy Online, Ship-to-Store
Omnichannel retail approaches like BOSS require an incredibly connected supply chain that is supported by automated order and inventory management systems. Let’s look at some best practices that can help eCommerce store owners and retailers handle the boss ordering.
Digitization is the Key
Through digitization in logistics, retailers can handle orders with great speed and accuracy, keeping their customers satisfied.
So, what does digitization include?
Digitization in logistics includes having an efficient and innovative package management software supplemented with the latest OCR technology.
As retail goods cannot be tracked, ordered, or registered without barcodes, it is crucial to have smart OCR software to scan barcodes accurately. Therefore, focus on digitizing your BOSS retail operations.
Have a Specified Pick-up Area
Another suitable way to run the BOSS model at your eCommerce store is to have a designated area for pick-up. You can easily direct BOSS orders to this area, making it convenient for the customers to retrieve their packages without hassle. Furthermore, you can also use parcel lockers to provide a self-serve way to your customers for order pick-up. Therefore, focus on an organized distribution method at your store.
Keep the Customers Informed
Communication is crucial in buy online, ship-to-store format of online shopping. You need to keep the customer in the loop when processing the order. The consumers expect an email from the store telling them about the estimated time of the order’s arrival, its tracking information, and an email/text notification when the order is ready for pick-up. Also, you can educate your customers about where to go in-store to get the items in this email.
Logistics and eCommerce are interconnected. Businesses or companies that want to capture online sales opportunities using the buy online, ship-to-store method should ensure speed, flexibility, and precision in their supply chain. For this purpose, you need to invest in smart logistics solutions like PackageX that automate order, stock, and inventory management at your store. Our platform comprises easy-to-use apps and APIs that conveniently streamline your in-store processes.