As social-distancing sweeps the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses face economic backlash. Both nonessential and essential businesses have been forced to alter their strategies, with many turning to omnichannel to keep their businesses afloat. With nonessential businesses forced to close their doors to the public and essential businesses suffering due to safety concerns, merchants are increasingly offering consumers the option to buy online and pick up in-store as a way to stay in business, keep associates employed, and limit human interaction.
BOPIS and curbside pickup have increased by 62% in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing guidelines enforced in cities across the nation, what shoppers used to consider a perk is now necessary for consumers and merchants alike. By implementing BOPIS and curbside pick up, retail stores can continue to employ their staff, and customers can continue to shop without risking their health.
Some retailers have completely closed their stores, relying solely on curbside pickup during this time. Merchants feel this is a safe alternative to in-store shopping, as it minimizes the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Similarly, many essential businesses who have typically relied on in-store shoppers are turning to BOPIS and curbside pickup as a way to minimize human interaction and create a safe environment for their customers. While most of these essential stores are still open to the public, they see a surge in e-commerce orders as customers have an increased concern for their health and others’ health. Business Insider Intelligence predicts that 43 percent of American consumers will have used online grocery services by the end of June 2020.
Both BOPIS and curbside pickup options have been implemented by merchants across the country, including high-end jewelry retailer Kendra Scott and Michael’s craft store. Texas-based jeweler Kendra Scott invested in an order management system last year, which allowed for an easy rollout of BOPIS and curbside pickup to its stores, and prevented associates from being furloughed. Michael’s craft store experienced a “significant uptrend” in its online sales, for delivery, and BOPIS said CEO Mark Cosby. The store also launched curbside pickup this month.
Magento’s Omnichannel Capabilities Magento Order Management System allows businesses to bridge the gap between their online and physical worlds. When businesses connect their site, retail stores, and warehouses with Magento Order Management, they make the shopping experience seamless by allowing customers to shop, buy, and ship their purchases in many ways.
Magento order management makes complex fulfillment needs such as BOPIS and curbside pickup more manageable. Furthermore, Magento also has advanced inventory management capabilities, most notably Magento MSI. Magento’s Multi-Source Inventory (MSI) is designed for merchants with multiple inventory locations and sales channels. It allows them to manage these sources from the Magento 2 admin panel without the need for a third-party extension. Magento MSI allows merchants to track inventory quantities across multiple locations or sources, ensuring that all virtual and on-hand products are accurately accounted for across multiple channels. MSI is flexible, with capabilities to support multiple warehouses, complex shipping networks, stores, drop shippers, and distribution centers.
For businesses to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic, omnichannel strategies such as BOPIS and curbside pickup must be implemented. These solutions allow merchants to provide their customers with the smoothest path to purchase, thus increasing conversion rates. “If you’re a business owner looking for a solution during this time or wanting to optimize your business strategy, consider omnichannel commerce,” says Creatuity experts.
In this unprecedented era of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no question why people worldwide are worried. With the unemployment rate expected to reach approximately 15 percent or more, the highest it’s been since The Great Depression a century prior; the economy will face backlashes for months or even years to follow. The world will not go back to normal; instead, society will adapt and continue.
This ‘new normal’ (as it is being called now) can already be seen. To keep oneself safe from the novel strain of coronavirus, humans practice social distancing and quarantining — a changed behavior that has quickly altered the way we work, socialize, and shop.
Because of this, stores that allow customers to buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS), ship from store, or have strong online presences are likely doing better than those who don’t offer omnichannel options. Even grocery stores, which have typically relied on in-store, in-person shoppers, capitalize on e-commerce sales. Additionally, downloads of apps like Instacart and Shipt that allow people to hire personal shoppers to prepare and deliver their grocery orders have increased by 124 percent (Shipt) and 218 percent (Instacart).
People who can work from home (most likely in sweatpants), happy hours are virtual, and shopping trends have changed rapidly, with merchants leaning on their omnichannel sites for support. One of the best ways for merchants to stay afloat during these difficult times is to have an omnichannel presence. Shoppers are looking for safe, easy solutions as a precautionary measure resulting from the current pandemic.