Recent research has shown that 68% of consumers will abandon a market basket if the seller does not offer free shipping. An emerging shopping option—Buy Online, Pick Up at Store (or “BOPUS”)—is acclimating consumers to the idea of using onsite lockers where consumers can pick up the items they’ve previously purchased online. The upside: No shipping for the seller, no shipping fees or wait times for the consumer.

These BOPUS lockers are starting to sound like they may become mainstream. While only 10% of consumers have thus far used a locker for a BOPUS purchase, 92% say they would use one again.  The most obvious benefit of the locker system is that it eliminates the 7-minute average wait that consumers must spend to pick up a BOPUS purchase in stores that do not have lockers. The locker system also reduces the need to have staff at customer service desks or BOPUS-desks to facilitate pickup. 

Most new deployments of BOPUS are going straight to lockers. BOPUS with lockers is already offered by USPS, Walmart, Home Depot, Best Buy, and many other large shippers—and the list is growing. Despite concerns that lockers might discourage in-store purchases, research shows that 30%–70% of BOPUS customers who use lockers also make in-store purchases. BOPUS still has some hurdles to clear, including: 

  • Determining who gets credit for the sale—the store or eCommerce?
  • Training sales associates to understand the importance of picking BOPUS merchandise quickly.
  • Improving inventory accuracy so stores are not promising products that consumers can’t find.
  • Ensuring that customers can find the pickup point within each store.
  • Ensuring that timely text confirmations are sent to purchasers.

Despite these issues, the overall outlook for the practical application of BOPUS lockers is bright, with emerging trends that include:

  • Public lockers useable by multiple companies to drive traffic into stores
  • Apartment complex lockers
  • University lockers
  • Refrigerated specialty lockers

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