3 Reasons You Need to Be Paying Attention to Buy Online, Ship to Store (BOSS) - woman packing box and looking at computer

3 Reasons you need to be paying attention to Buy online, ship to store (BOSS)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014
When it comes to running your business, there are a lot of commerce methods you can use to meet your customers’ expectations. In a connected marketplace, giving your customers options that fit their needs is critical. While online shopping is now the preferred shopping method for many, those businesses who have a physical store and ecommerce presence can offer shoppers more options. Offering your customers multiple ways to shop can help you meet the needs of your customers. Plus, it gives your business multiple ways to fulfill orders. One of these fulfillment options that is gaining popularity is to buy online ship to store (BOSS). So in this article, we’ll take a look at BOSS, how it works, and three reasons you should consider it as a business. To start, let’s define BOSS.

What is Buy Online Ship to Store (BOSS)?

While you might be familiar with retail store delivery methods like same-day delivery, one that you might not know is BOSS. BOSS is a delivery method that starts with a customer placing an order from your online store. Normally, that purchase would be shipped right to their home. However, with BOSS, your customers get products shipped directly to your brick and mortar store(s) and then pick the products up at their nearest store location.

This fulfillment method usually relies on the distribution network of a business like yours to move products from a warehouse or between brick and mortar stores. Because it’s likely you’re already moving products between these distribution points, it can be pretty straightforward to add a BOSS purchase to your shipping process. Plus, this method saves the customer shipping costs because there usually aren’t any.

Now, you might be familiar with another pickup option, buy online pickup in store (BOPIS). And you’re probably wondering how BOSS is different from BOPIS. Technically, BOSS is a subcategory of BOPIS. That’s because the customer is picking up their online order at their nearest store option during store hours. However, when many retailers talk about BOPIS, they’re normally talking about an in-store pickup order option that allows customers same business day pickup. Sometimes, the product can be ready at the pickup location as soon as a few hours after purchase. That’s really the difference – with BOPIS, the item is already in stock at the brick and mortar retail store, so it’s easy for store associates to grab the product for the customer. With BOSS, the item is not currently at the store and it may take a few days to get the item from its location to the store.

Another similar delivery method is ship from store. While this is similar to BOSS and BOPIS, it involves shipping products from a store directly to the customer instead of from a warehouse. Companies usually employ this fulfillment method in order to get the products to the customer faster or to save money on shipping costs. 

Now that you know more about BOSS and how it differs from other pickup options, let’s take a look at three reasons you should consider using BOSS as a business.

Three reasons to pay attention to BOSS

Utilizing BOSS as a business can help your business in a variety of ways. From giving your customers more access to your inventory to streamlining your supply chain, it can be a great option for your business. Here are the top three reasons to pay attention to BOSS as a business owner:

BOSS is successful

BOSS works because it’s successful for businesses and customers alike. As a business, it gives you another fulfillment option to offer your customers. In today’s environment, customers value options. And BOSS is a great way to offer another convenient pickup option for your customers. For both customers and businesses, BOSS helps avoid costly shipping. Many customers expect free shipping options, and this is a way to not charge for shipping while giving them a convenient pickup option. For businesses, it can help you save on single-product shipping costs since you’re utilizing your supply chain network to get the package to your brick and mortar location. 

Finally, customers can shop nationwide and pick up the product right in their backyard. This national inventory helps them get the product they want without waiting for their local store to get the product back in stock. Again, this is a positive attribute for business owners as you’re opening up your inventory across stores to a nationwide audience, increasing product availability to your customers, while reducing excess inventory. That’s good for your customers and your business.

BOSS helps prevent porch pirates

One of the biggest benefits of BOSS is preventing porch pirates. Porch pirates are people who steal packages off customers’ doorsteps, and this can be a big problem for businesses. With more and more ecommerce buying, package stealing is becoming a big nuisance. In cities where package stealing is a big issue, consumers are changing their plans in order to make sure they’re home when a package arrives. That can be a huge inconvenience and can significantly alter a consumer’s shopping experience and buying behavior.

So to remedy this, BOSS is a great option. Once a customer purchases a product, they'll receive an order confirmation email or text message informing them when they can expect their order in-store. Then, once it arrives at the store, it’s held safely until the customer picks it up. Instead of waiting around all day not sure when it will arrive, customers can track their order number and see exactly where their order is. Plus, businesses typically offer safeguards to make sure the package is given to the right customer. Whether it’s in-store or curbside pickup, many businesses require photo ID from the customer. Offering BOSS is a great way to increase your customer satisfaction and conversion as they’ll feel confident ordering from your business knowing that their package is safe and won’t be stolen.

Speaking of customer experience, it's important that your shopping experience for those who buy online and ship to store is seamless. That means sending customers communication about what they can expect when they get to the store for order pickup. From clear signage that tells them where to go to detailing what they need to bring (photo ID, credit card, order number, etc.), your business should strive to create a simple and straightforward pickup process. If customers don't have a good experience the first time they try BOSS, it's likely they won't want to shop that way again.

BOSS can increase sales

BOSS isn’t just great because it helps prevent porch pirates. It can also build brand affinity and help you increase sales. While this may seem counterintuitive, customers who know that they’ll have a quick trip to the store are not immune from making split-second, impulsive purchases. Therefore, if you decide to offer BOSS to customers, you may also look to offer them a discount or promotion to encourage them to spend more at your business.

While these are the three main reasons to consider BOSS, there are a few other reasons that can help you consider BOSS. The first is that BOSS can help your business control inventory. As we briefly mentioned, BOSS allows you to offer inventory across multiple stores and online, helping to move inventory that may have been previously earmarked for certain stores. That means you can offer your customers a more complete shopping experience.

Another benefit of BOSS for businesses is a reduced business footprint. Because brick and mortar stores can now become shipping and delivery centers, it allows businesses like yours to get more creative with their physical locations. 

Of course, one of the biggest challenges with BOSS for businesses is logistics. Without the proper supply chain channels, BOSS can be costly and may require a business like yours to reimagine your processes. That’s why it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of BOSS for your specific business before deciding to implement it. While it can have distinct advantages, it does require some forethought before implementing.

As you can see, the fulfillment options for consumers are rapidly changing. By having a good understanding of the different ways your customers can receive your products, you’ll be able to decide what the best solution is for your business. After reading this article, it is our hope that you have a good grasp on BOSS and how it can help your business. So, to leverage your existing inventory and cater to your customers’ preferences, consider BOSS.

Ready to get started with BOSS in your business?

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