The Role of Simplicity and Tech in BOPA, BOPIS, and Curbside Pickup

on Dec 19, 2023

Is your retail operation struggling to keep pace with the growing demands for convenience and efficiency? You aren’t alone. 

During peak seasons, processing and ensuring timely order delivery becomes overwhelming. Delays become inevitable, compromising customer satisfaction and even resulting in order cancellations. 

This challenge highlights the need for implementing self-service automated pickup functionality for retailers. Without it, you risk falling behind the competition and potentially failing to provide the best service to your customers.

That’s why many retail businesses now offer customers BOPA, BOPIS, and curbside pickups. But how do you ensure the process is efficient and improves the customer journey?

In this article, we’ll explore how simplicity and integrating tech can transform BOPA, BOPIS, and curbside solutions and help businesses operate more efficiently and sustainably.

What are BOPA, BOPIS, and curbside pickup, and why do they matter? 

Modern retailers are implementing BOPA, BOPIS, and curbside pickup to make the customer experience more convenient. But what do these terms mean, and what are their perks? Let’s find out:

BOPA vs. BOPIS vs. Curbside


Buy Online, Pickup Anywhere (BOPA) is an e-commerce order fulfillment method where customers can place their orders online and then pick up their items from the location of their choice. It lets customers choose from the available network of pickup locations and deliver their orders there instead of doorstep delivery. 

Here are some benefits of BOPA:

Streamlined order process

With the BOPA approach, retailers can optimize inventory management, reduce the need for traditional store shelving and display space, and consolidate orders for better efficiency. Letting customers locate items online, check product availability, and reserve them for pickup, also streamlines the shopping process. 

Enhanced customer convenience

BOPA gives customers the flexibility to choose the most convenient pickup location. It reduces traditional shipping time, giving customers instant gratification with faster access to their ordered items. Moreover, since the customers pick up the orders, there’s less risk of packages being stolen from doorsteps. 

As BOPA lowers shipping fees significantly, the shopping experience becomes cost-effective and more convenient for the customers. The number one reason for customers opting for BOPA is to save money. There are also fewer shipping delays, making this model a very convenient option for urgent online purchases. 

Lower in-store wait times

Most BOPA programs let customers schedule their pickup times. It ensures their orders are ready and waiting when they arrive at the pickup location. It reduces the time spent waiting in line, enhancing the customer experience.

BOPA is flexible, cost-effective, and convenient for the retailer and the customer. While it is a comparatively fresh approach, reports note that 18% of US shoppers already prefer the BOPA model. Moreover, Eastern Europe and parts of Asia boast 70% of global BOPA delivery adoption.


Buy Online, Pick up In-Store (BOPIS) is another alternative e-commerce business model that lets customers place their orders online and pick up their purchased items from the physical store, usually on the same day. 

Here are the benefits of BOPIS:

Blends online and in-store shopping

BOPIS merges the online and in-store experience to give consumers a more convenient way to shop without the usual delivery waiting period. Customers can check inventory and pre-select items. It lets customers avoid the time-consuming process of navigating through a store, locating items, and standing in line to checkout. 

Moreover, BOPIS lets customers enjoy in-store assistance, which is often missing in traditional online shopping. 

Minimizes shipping costs

As there is no doorstep delivery requirement, retailers can                                    reduce shipping costs and remove them, making the experience more cost-effective.

Quicker access to purchased items

BOPIS offers fast pickup, meaning customers can pick up their purchased items the same day they place the order. It eliminates the usual waiting period associated with standard doorstep delivery. Quick access to purchased items makes it an excellent shopping method for urgent additional purchases. 

The amalgamation of online and in-store shopping experiences has made BOPIS a popular shopping method among modern consumers. A 2023 forecast noted that American shoppers will spend $99.36 billion through BOPIS, making up 8.5% of US e-commerce sales.

Curbside pickup

Curbside pickup is a variant of Buy Online, Pickup Anywhere. The customer places the order online and then drives to the selected location. However, they don’t have to leave their vehicle to collect the order. A carrier will bring the package to them. 

The perks of implementing curbside pickup include:

Contactless and safe

Curbside pickup lets customers access purchased items without making contact with others — and that’s precisely why it gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers don’t have to enter the store to collect their packages, making it a safe and contactless delivery method for people with severe health risks.

Fast order retrieval

Curbside pickup eliminates the need to wander around the store, load items into a shopping cart, and wait in line for checkout. The customer can easily place an order and quickly access the package without entering the store. It saves a significant amount of time, making it an attractive option for busy individuals.

Reduces in-store foot traffic

As customers don’t have to enter the store or wait in line to retrieve their purchased items, curbside pickup significantly reduces in-store foot traffic. It makes customer service, inventory management, and other on-site retail operations much more manageable for store staff. 

Graph showing millennial and Gen-Z curbside pickup percentages

While the older customer base is familiar with curbside pickup, this order fulfillment method is quite popular among the younger crowd. According to a                         2022 report, curbside pickup is a preference for 61.9% of millennials and 54.2% of Gen Z shoppers.

How does BOPA work?

BOPA allows customers to choose where to pick up their package form. It’s more convenient, affordable, and faster than the traditional home delivery method. Now let’s see how it works: 

Image of a family with the stat 18% of US shoppers prefer BOPA

The customer places the order on the retailer’s website

The first step is the usual online order placement process. The customer browses your products on your website and adds items to the cart. You must have real-time inventory visibility to ensure transparency and streamlined order placement. 

During the checkout process, customers get options for available pickup locations. They select their preferred pickup slot and location. Once done, the customer pays and places the order.

The retailer fulfills the order

Once the retailer receives an order, they check the customer's chosen pickup location and time. Then, they locate the items, pack them, and get the package delivered to the spot. The retailer must schedule shipping once the parcel is ready and before the specified pickup time. 

Image showing a message indicating an order is ready for pickup

The customer picks up the package 

The customer gets an alert when the order is ready to be picked up. They drive to the pickup location and show their order confirmation or QR code to collect their items.

BOPA has been an effective tool for D2C brands to crack the local markets. For example, Amazon Fresh now offers BOPA services for free. The customer can place the order on the website and select ‘Pickup’ on the Fresh homepage or the checkout screen. The e-commerce store lets them choose the pickup window that works best for their schedule.

Once the order is ready, the customer gets a notification. They can notify the retailer when they arrive so the package is ready for pickup. The Amazon fresh associates check the order confirmation and load the items in the customer’s vehicles.

How does BOPIS work?

BOPIS lets customers check their local retail store’s inventory and book the products beforehand, making the experience convenient. It also poses cross-sell and upsell opportunities as customers come to the store to pick up the package. 

According to reports, 47% of online shoppers buy more products during store visits to pick up their BOPIS orders. 

Here’s how BOPIS works:

The customer places the order on the retailer’s website

The customer browses your products on your website, checks their availability, and books the required items. That’s why BOPIS demands real-time inventory visibility for accurate order placement. 

At the checkout page, customers can select a store where the items are available and their preferred pickup location. Then, the customer pays and places the order.

The retailer fulfills the order

The order fulfillment process with BOPIS has two scenarios. If the items are in stock at your store branch in the customer's locality, you arrange for them to be set aside and packed before the scheduled date and time for pickup. Then, the customer gets an alert, letting them know their order is ready for pickup.

If the ordered items are out of stock at your store in the customer’s locality, you must request them from another store location or your warehouse. Once it arrives at your store, let them know it’s ready to be picked up. 

The customer picks up the package 

The shopper drives to their local brick-and-mortar location to pick up the package. They must show the order confirmation details to get the ordered items. The customer can also ask for assistance and suggestions from the in-store staff.

Due to its convenience and opportunities to increase sales, BOPIS is now an increasingly popular order fulfillment method among top retail brands. 

For example, Gap Inc.’s e-commerce brand, Banana Republic, has implemented an in-store pickup service to enhance its omnichannel experience                management. This BOPIS integration fits seamlessly into a cross-brand shopping experience.

To make the experience even more convenient, Banana Republic stores have signs to direct the shopper to the pickup location. The store staff’s also there to assist them. The customer simply shows the email confirmation at the store and picks up their package.

How does curbside pickup work?

While similar to the other two methods, Curbside pickup doesn’t require the shopper to exit their vehicle to pick up the order. Here’s how the process works: 

The customer places the order on the retailer’s website

The first step is the usual online order placement process. The customer browses your products on your website and adds items to the cart. To avoid confusion, you must provide real-time inventory visibility. 

During checkout, customers get options for available curbside pickup locations and time slots. Once selected, the customer pays and places the order.

The retailer fulfills the order

After getting the order, you locate the items, pack them, and get the package delivered to the chosen curbside drive-through. The process is about efficiency, as you must ensure the order is ready to be picked up at the station. Then, an alert is sent to the shopper to notify them that their items are ready for pickup. 

The customer picks up the order

After confirmation, the customers notify you they are heading to the curbside pickup station. You keep a staff member ready at the pickup zone with a tablet to verify. 

Image showing curbside pickup

Once the shopper parks in the assigned pickup area, the staff member asks for verification documents such as order confirmation and valid ID proof to match pickup orders to the customers. The staff then locates the order and brings it to the customer’s vehicle. 

For example, Walmart offers an easy curbside pickup service for its customers. The customer orders online and chooses a time slot for the pickup. An in-store associate collects the ordered items and packs them in bags. 

The customer selects check-in from the confirmation email or Walmart mobile app, drives to the store, and parks in the pickup zone. Then they choose “I’ve parked” and enter the number and color of the vehicle. After that, a Walmart staff brings the items to the car. 

How simplicity and tech unity for BOPA, BOPIS, and curbside pickup can help retailers 

The whole point of implementing BOPA, BOPIS, and curbside pickup is to make the shopping experience more convenient for customers. However, a complicated interface and manual processing make it a counterproductive process for retailers.

Simplicity and tech unity for BOPA, BOPIS, and curbside pickup are crucial to enhance customer experience and boost sales. Why? Let’s discuss —

Simplicity enhances the user experience

If your BOPA, BOPIS, or curbside pickup process has complex steps, it can frustrate customers and lead to cart abandonment. They appreciate a straightforward and user-friendly process. Make checkouts accessible to a wide range of shoppers, including those with disabilities.

For that, you need a simple shopping UX to increase conversions.

User-friendly interfaces

Your checkout page must offer a detailed list of pickup locations and time slots for the shopper to select. The interface should be mobile-friendly and give an accurate inventory overview for the customers to check availability. 

Intuitive navigation

Add simple and clear instructions on how to choose a pickup location. Your staff should also get clear guidelines on locating, packing, and keeping orders ready for pickup. It reduces the chances of mistakes, such as customers choosing the wrong pickup location or staff giving the incorrect items.

Delivery Solutions for retailers

Role of technology

For running a BOPA, BOPIS, or curbside pickup program, operational efficiency is everything. And manual processes won’t suffice. So, tech integrations are a must.

After implementing the right software, you can streamline the process with real-time customer tracking and automatic ETA to the in-store staff. This way, the store assistants will know the customer’s ETA and be ready to help them. 

For example, tech integrations can enable geofencing technology and simplify curbside pickup. The system will display when the customer is close to the store location or parked in the designated curbside pickup areas. It’ll reduce wait times, letting the team members bring the order directly to the customer without delays. 

Proper software integration can provide a consistent CX across all BOPA, including curbside, in-store pickup, lockers, access points, or PUDO points. It also lets you access historical customer data and offers personalized pickup options. 

When part of a full-suite omnichannel platform, connectivity with existing systems means orchestration to adapt offerings to new customer behavior trends like flash pickup and composable commerce. This can enable prompt data-sharing so your teams get instant order details and prioritize them according to the pickup schedule. 

Advantages of integrations 

Here are some advantages of integrating delivery tech software:

Improved efficiency

Software integrations eliminate manual work and reduce errors. It enables better order prioritization, makes the process more efficient, and ensures the right items are packed and ready on time.

Seamless customer experience

ETA updates and geofencing alert the staff of the shopper’s arrival. They can prepare to greet customers and help them with their packages. It’ll minimize delays and offer a seamless customer experience. 

Competitive edge

By improving operational efficiencies, enabling timely assistance, and eliminating delays, tech integrations give your BOPA, BOPIS, and curbside pickup services a competitive edge. 


With BOPA, BOPIS, and curbside pickup services, retailers can revolutionize their operations and cater to evolving consumer demands. By integrating tech, you can enhance CX further with a hassle-free delivery process. 

A simple user interface and intuitive navigation will make shopping more accessible and enjoyable. And the right tech enables seamless integration and improves operational efficiency. It creates a more satisfying customer journey and gives you a competitive edge in the cutthroat retail market.

Want to explore these opportunities and position your business for a future of seamless, efficient, and customer-centric retail operations?                                Request a demo today!

About the author

Russ Bair

Russ Bair is the Chief Product Officer at Delivery Solutions, the leading provider of last-mile delivery and fulfillment software. He helps ensure retailers achieve their goals and they are able to provide meaningful experiences for their customers.  Prior to his tenure at Delivery Solutions, Russ was President of projekt202—an experience-driven consulting firm founded to apply deep ethnographic research to the development of mobile, web, and workplace software.    He received his Bachelors in Computer Science from Texas A&M and has more than 25 years of extensive experience in the software development and consulting fields. While holding leadership roles within organizations or various sizes, Russ has designed, developed, and led the creation of complex custom software implementations for small, medium, and Fortune 500 companies across the United States.   Russ is fulfilled by helping those around him reach their potential through servant leadership and collaborating to create progress and economic value. He currently lives in the Dallas area with his wife Jana and two children.


Topics from this blog: Curbside Delivery Bopis Efficiency Bopa

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