Self-Serve, Automated In-Store Order Pick-Up Sees Clear Tipping Point at #NRF2019

Executives from Express, Little Caesars, JDA Software discuss the impact of smart locker solutions with Apex

NEW YORK CITY — January 14, 2019 — Consumer demand for in-store order pick-up was underscored at #NRF2019 yesterday as a standing room only crowd of leading retail and restaurant industry brands attended BOPIS 2.0: Transforming the Store with Self-Serve Automation.

Research1 shows shoppers using in-store order pick up, also known as Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) and click and collect, increased 53% in 2018 over 2017. In response, 93% of retailers plan on implementing the convenient service by 2023.1

“Consumers love BOPIS, the data continues to prove this out,” said Kent Savage, founder and CEO of Apex Supply Chain Technologies. “Our retail and restaurant customers are moving past discovery and experimentation to seamlessly integrating our smart locker solution into the customer experience and operations before scaling it chainwide. Every week, our customers are seeing the positive impact self-serve, automated order pick-up has on customers, employees and their bottom line.”

Savage led the discussion with executives from specialty retailer Express, Little Caesars Pizza and JDA Software, including:

  • Jude Reter, vice president of Digital Experiences, Express;
  • Ed Gleich, senior vice president of Global Marketing, Little Caesars;
  • Alex Price, global vice president of Alliances, Channels & Technology Ecosystem Strategy, JDA Software.

Express Taps Apex for Frictionless Click & Collect
“Customers expect a frictionless experience,” said Reter. “When we realized BOPIS was adding friction to our in-store experience, we identified Apex to help us improve this customer amenity.”

Express’ Reter led the pilot project across several Express stores and cited its positive results, compared to stores offering BOPIS without smart lockers.

  • Higher Customer Satisfaction: Same-store BOPIS experience satisfaction rates were 13% higher during the locker pilot, than during the 90 days immediately preceding it. And 92% of locker BOPIS customers would use the lockers again, if given a choice.
  • More Attached Sales: The add-on sales from locker BOPIS in-store traffic was also proven out for Express. 25% of locker BOPIS customers made another purchase, vs. only 8.3% of non-locker BOPIS customers.
  • Increased Same-Store Sales: Weekly BOPIS order volume is up 21.8% at pilot stores, while average order value is up 1.3%. This resulted in a 19% increase in weekly BOPIS revenue.
  • Customer Engagement Boost: Reter noted that while its millennial customer base doesn’t typically want to interact with store associates, 60% of locker BOPIS customers interacted with a store associate during their visit.

Based on the above results, Express is expanding this pilot project to more locations.2

Co-Development with Little Caesars Fuels Rapid, Chain-Wide Deployment
Little Caesar’s Gleich detailed how the brand built on its innovative Hot N’ Ready program to transform its customer experience with the Pizza Portal™, the industry’s first heated self-service order pick-up station.

“Apex co-developed the Pizza Portal with Little Caesars to bring our vision to life,” said Gleich. “Together we went from concept and rapid testing to manufacturing and chain-wide deployment in just 10 months. We knew the solution’s success hinged on making customer and store employee lives easier. Our Pizza Portal and mobile app enable custom orders at Little Caesars and attracts new customers to our brand as a result. We’re seeing orders through the Pizza Portal increase chainwide every week.”

Customer Success Hinges on Operational Data
Wrapping up the discussion, JDA’s Price noted the operational issues preventing some brands from evolving past the testing stage with a click and collect program.

Price mentioned one national retailer losing millions annually due to non-locker BOPIS issues. “Orders were disappearing in between customers placing them and coming in-store to pick them up” said Price. “The retailer increased inventory to deal with the issue, but this only made it worse. It goes back to data. Retailers need real-time visibility into their inventory and be flexible enough to move it around.”

As front of store is automating BOPIS with self-serve lockers, back of store can rely on it to manage the critical devices used to track inventory and manage point of sale transactions. This is one way the retail industry is moving to become a truly autonomous supply chain.

Apex Supply Chain Technologies is the world’s leading provider of self-serve automated solutions for use in a variety of industries and applications including the retail, restaurant and foodservice industries. With world headquarters in Mason, Ohio, Apex has offices in Australia, Germany, Poland and the UK. To learn more about Apex, visit us online at our website on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

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  1. The Future of Fulfillment Vision Study, Zebra Technologies, 2018
  2. All Express data in this news release was cited by Express vice president of Digital Experiences, Jude Reter during BOPIS 2.0: Transforming the Store with Self-Serve Automation on Sunday, January 13, 2019 from 2:00-3:00 pm EST.