Leave it to the retailing industry to attempt to put lipstick on a pig when sales aren’t meeting investor expectations. The latest shade of lipstick sounds so alluring indeed. Have you heard the bogus claims that the BOPIS Trend is accelerating? What is BOPIS you ask? BOPIS = Buy Online Pick-up in Store. We are told that this ever-growing trend is going to save brick and mortar retailing. “Really – oh please do tell!”
You see, the only reason more consumers are doing this ‘buying online and picking up in-store’ is because they have no choice. When you go shopping at a retailer expecting to find what you are looking for, it isn’t there. Why? Because retailing chains are unprofitable and can’t afford to stock merchandise in their stores. We all know why, and we can say it out loud in unison if you’d like; Amazon.
An article in BizTech Online (12/2018) states; “Allowing customers to buy online and pick up in-store, also known as ‘click and collect’ is here to stay.” Another piece in Dallas Market Center News published on January 9, 2019 titled; “2019 Retail Trend: Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS)” states that “BOPIS is one of the fastest growing trends in retail and a strategic tool for physical retailers trying to compete with pure play online sellers.”
Now then, the first article makes it sound like retailers are doing the customer a favor by ‘allowing’ customers to buy online and then conveniently shipping it to the store for pick-up. Well, this isn’t a strategy, more like a tragedy. The entire reason you’d go to a brick and mortar in the first place is to check out what you are buying, look it over, make a decision and then make your purchase and walk out of the store with the merchandise right then and there.
Face it, retailers are not doing this because they want to serve the customer better, no, they are doing it because they are failing and cannot compete with online sellers – without the high-priced retail space lease costs – selling the same product for less money. I wouldn’t call this a trend as much as I’d call it proof that major retailers are on their last leg. For many of them failure and bankruptcy is eminent.
Sure, retailers might tout their so-called BOPIS strategy in their quarterly earnings reports as if this trend is preferred by customers, and satisfactory to consumers. Truth be told; it’s not. The old Sears Catalog strategy was somewhat similar. You could buy many of the more popular items in their larger department stores and order anything else through their catalog and pick it up in their stores. Tell me my good friend and retailing expert; how is Sears doing today?
Consumers aren’t making BOPIS purchases because they prefer to, no, they are doing it because often they feel they have no choice. Retailers that pretend to specialize in various categories such as business products, home décor, pet supplies, shoes, etc. but don’t have the actual products in their stores are ripe to become the next retail chain bankruptcy failure.
It isn’t convenient to go to a retailer and expect to find something, only to find the large box store with lots of extra space and a scantily clad inventory selection. Then being told; “sorry, but, you can order it in our online store,” and pick-it-up here tomorrow. That means you probably have to go home, get online, order it, then come back again. We are told this is ‘convenient’ and a new retailing trend and strategy? WTH are retailing executives smoking? They should have never legalized that.
This bogus BOPIS strategy is not competing with Amazon. It’s only proving Amazon has won the retailing war. It’s time to divest from any retailing stocks in your portfolio. If you work in retail, it might be a good time to fine-tune your resume. Don’t shoot the messenger, I am just sayin’