TPN Study Shows How COVID-19 Has Affected BOPIS Use

A new report from TPN compared surveys of shoppers from mid-2019 with ones taken in April 2020 to show how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their behavior.

The study found that shoppers who ordered groceries online for in-store pickup for the first time during the pandemic lockdowns will likely return to stores as restrictions lift, but that those who have repeatedly used BOPIS services will continue to utilize the service.

"When comparing survey results from April 2020 to last year's findings, we are seeing a drastic shift in consumer wants and needs and the value around BOPIS," TPN head of strategy and insights Cheryl Policastro said in a media release. "Those who leveraged BOPIS prior to COVID-19 used it for value, convenience and to save time – all which they noted have disappeared during the global health crisis. Moreover, those who used BOPIS for the first time during the pandemic were dependent on the service for a much different value proposition: one of safety and control."

60% of BOPIS users in 2020 said the service helped them avoid long lines and crowds and 52% said they used it to minimize their time spent in store. However, satisfaction was marred by out-of-stocks. 47% of users said they felt their order wouldn’t be fulfilled correctly and 41% of shoppers who had used BOPIS before the pandemic complained that there were fewer products available. 28% said they experienced longer wait times, 13% said they had problems confirming their pick-up times and dates, and 9% said they found the experience had become more stressful.

Still some new users expressed satisfaction. 21% said BOPIS was more efficient than in-store shopping and 11% said they were finding new items to buy, leading to larger basket sizes.

"All of these insights point to the fact that we are in an unpredictable time when it comes to retail and shopping,” Policastro said. “We're seeing a move to the middle, with online shoppers noting they will also go back in-store, while traditional shoppers may start using online shopping more often. As the landscape continues to evolve and change, we'll be keeping a pulse on what this means for shoppers, as well at what this means for retailers and how they should be responding."