As another holiday season rolls around, retailers of all kinds are preparing for their busiest time of the year. However, as has been the case with most things in 2020, the holiday retail season is gearing up to look a bit different this year.
While many American consumers have traditionally kick-started their holiday shopping by snagging the best Black Friday deals at large retailers, the majority of those retailers have announced plans for their brick and mortar storefronts to close for the entirety of Thanksgiving day this year, most of them citing COVID-related safety concerns as a key deciding factor.
While the temporary cancellation of this long-held tradition may come as a disappointment for consumers and retailers alike, it likely doesn’t come as a surprise. Aside from the implications of the global pandemic, brick-and-mortar retailers have been making changes in the way they conduct business to best accommodate their customers for a number of years now—and this year is no exception. From in-store precautions, to online offerings, and combinations of the two, such as BOPIS services, retailers of all kinds are expanding their reach to ensure that their customers have a safe and enjoyable shopping experience this holiday season—and self-service technology is playing a major role.
What is BOPIS retail technology?
Initially introduced as a way to simplify and speed up the order pick-up experience, self-service BOPIS technology has taken off in strides over the past decade. An acronym for ‘buy online, pick-up in-store”, BOPIS retail solutions of all kinds are growing in popularity—and smart lockers are at the forefront. Designed for indoor or outdoor use, smart lockers offer a convenient, easy-to-use, order pick-up and drop-off solution for retailers both large and small. In addition to helping retailers abide by social distancing protocols, BOPIS solutions such as smart locker systems can be used to help reduce in-store congestion, lower overhead costs, increase availability, and improve customer service.
Are shoppers buying-in?
A recent Retail Dive article indicated that many major retailers have implemented and built up their BOPIS operations in preparation for what’s to come during the 2020 holiday season. Retailers aren’t the only ones excited about the growth of BOPIS solutions, though. In fact, according to the article, half of surveyed customers indicated that they planned to use contactless pickup during this holiday season.
What about other industries?
While retail is a popular and relatable use case for smart lockers, their capabilities and value are certainly not limited to one industry. From the smallest orders from a boutique retailer to a to-go dinner order, technology rental, or heavy machinery equipment parts pick-up, smart lockers can be used by businesses and organizations of all kinds who are looking to simplify their ordering and pick-up processes.
There’s no denying that the year 2020 will go down in history as the one that flipped everyone’s concept of “normal” completely upside down. From remote work and school to virtual events, appointments, and even trade shows, few aspects of the average person’s everyday life look the same as it did before. The same can certainly be said for the retail experience—although that shift has been a bit more gradual. Whether it’s ordering groceries, gifts, or dinner for the family, BOPIS solutions like locker systems offer a versatile solution and are thriving in the retail industry.
To learn more about Meridian’s smart locker solutions, visit meridiankiosks.com/lockers.