BOSS and BOPIS, medicine for fashion

Michele Caprini
17 Jun 2019

BOSS, Buy Online Ship to Store – is becoming increasingly popular in fashion distribution which seeks to equip the physical store with e-commerce capabilities. It is the evolution of BOPIS – Buy Online, Pick-up In-store – though different since it does not depend on the in-store stock.

The market

According to a study from Moody’s, fashion sales in Europe will be suffering at least until 2020. Sales decline are more to the marginalisation rather than volumes. High discounts, costly prices for fashion items and poor economic conditions are continuously decreasing sales volume.

Fast-fashion brands, such as Primark, Zara and H&M, are currently under the spotlight. According to McKinsey, the number of items bought per person has increased by 60% on average since 2000. Kantar Worldpanel research stated that 47% of items bought are derived from sales, compared to the 37% from 10 years ago.

The above are further reasons for retailers to accelerate the renovation of their standard processes to not fall behind. Single investments in technology will not suffice.

Sales and Delivery

Customers are becoming increasingly fond of BOPIS and BOSS, making them a unique opportunity for retailers. Both increase drive to store traffic which an undeniable competitive advantage.

The American consulting firm Ivesp, specialised in conversion rate, stated that two-thirds of American consumers used Click-and-Collect in the second semester of 2018. Moreover, 38% of retailers consider this a decisive method to increase drive to store traffic.

Almost all the 38% of retailers will adopt Click-and-Collect by 2021. By 2025, this option will account for 10% of all global sales.

Macy's and the others

One of America’s retail icons, Macy’s, reported that 7% of eCommerce sales came from Click-and-Collect and that value doubles during holidays. The company also remarks that 25% of its sales come from BOSS and BOPIS orders.

Another major player, Kohl’s, with 1200 stores in America and revenues of $20b USD, increased its sales by 20%-25% thanks to BOSS and BOPIS orders. The explanation is simple: once customers are in the store to collect their online purchase, they buy other items.

One of the typical problems in retail are the returns. Large companies, such as Zara, fhave and still are investing large sums in technology which correlates the management of returns to in-store delivery.

Around a third of online sales for the Inditex are collected in-store, which is continuously lower than values in other retail sectors. Home Depot, the global giant for home and bricolage products, has 47% of its online sales collected in store.

On average, retailers can expect a 25% gross return from a single delivery, while the in-store method increases the margin to 33%. BOSS provides resellers with a win-win situation: they reduce their delivery costs, and they increase options for clients without overfilling stock and making warehouses more economically manageable.

The Nordstorm case

Nordstorm is an American company with 400 department stores and revenues of $16b. During the Shoptalk conference, held in Las Vegas last March, CEO Erik Nordstorm stated that 50% of in-store visits begin online for the group; while 35% of online purchases begin through an in-store visit.

BOSS presents itself as an attractive option for Nordstorm. Cherry Hill's store in New Jersey recently reconfigured its store to adopt BOSS.

The space which was once dedicated to bags has now become changing rooms for customers which purchase online and collect in store, allowing customers to try pieces before committing to the purchase. This avoids costs and time spent for delivery and potential returns.

Mr. Nordstorm also states “the most popular service in our stores probably is returning items. This may appear disappointing, but it is a driver of our activity”