How To Keep Your Business Safe and Thriving in the Era of BOPIS

A typical customer in 2023 wants—and expects—a shopping experience that works for them. A challenge for businesses is to provide that experience without sacrificing safety or security in the process.   

One example is click and collect, otherwise known as BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store), a purchasing model that grew dramatically during the pandemic and has remained a fixture for consumers today. Why is BOPIS a popular option, what security challenges does it present, and how are business owners balancing service with security? 

What is BOPIS, and why is it appealing to customers and retailers? 

The 2023 Global Digital Shopping Index, a PAYMNTS/Cybersource joint study focusing on five countries, found that 26% more consumers used BOPIS in 2022 compared to 2021. In the US, that increase was 37%, representing 16 million additional shoppers. 

Why’s that? BOPIS is popular with customers for several reasons:

  • Helps avoids shipping costs and delivery complications
  • No waiting: items are in stock and ready to be picked up in as quickly as an hour
  • Convenient returns are done on site right away if needed

For businesses, BOPIS also delivers upside:

  • More in-store traffic leads to more purchasing
  • Lower last-mile delivery costs that add up in an era of customers expecting next-day delivery
  • Potential for inventory management improvement and efficiency

With this, many retailers are investing in BOPIS. Forecasts predict that the BOPIS market will exceed $150 billion by 2025. More BOPIS means more foot traffic and, simply put, better business.

The challenges of BOPIS

The rise in BOPIS creates new challenges for retailers. There is more foot traffic, which may be following new patterns. These challenges require new inventory management and storage systems. Then there are new physical demands on stores to accommodate pick-up areas and staffing accommodations. 

More customers in a store isn’t a bad challenge to have—but it’s a challenge nonetheless.

So while the convenience of BOPIS is a huge driver for customers, poor execution by businesses is the main deterrent. Lack of customer service at pick up, missing stock, items not ready for pick up—these all make a difference in the likelihood a consumer will reuse a given BOPIS service. 

There’s also an obvious but significant challenge: the increase in retail foot traffic coincides with an increase in retail theft. 

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2022 National Retail Security Survey (NRSS), the $94.5 billion retail shrink is due mainly to external theft, including theft due to organized retail crime (ORC). Not only is organized retail crime responsible for inventory and profit shrinkage, but it also poses a threat to store employees and customers, as incidents can often be violent.

So how can you grow your business without sacrificing safety? 

A balancing act between protection and service

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenge of providing a seamless shopping experience while ensuring public safety. Businesses need to balance embracing this new customer experience and maintaining a safe, secure physical space. 

Many retailers are investing in security teams dedicated to asset protection or loss prevention. Hiring and training staff strictly to handle the BOPIS customer experience is another option. 

But human security is hard to hire and can be cost-prohibitive, so hiring and training a robust security team might be out of reach for some retailers. 

Video security can help fill the security gap left by BOPIS with a fast, flexible, and modern system. 

Video security that prevents crime using advanced AI

A state-of-the-art video security system can deter crime and vandalism before it occurs with a combination of AI-enhanced video tech and human monitoring support. This is a potential answer for a business looking to implement (or upgrade) a BOPIS offering without sacrificing the safety of their staff, customers, or inventory. More customers doesn’t have to mean more headaches when it comes to security. 

Advanced video security can provide the following capabilities:

  • Hi-def cameras embedded with AI technology
  • A virtual fence that protects a defined area and sends alerts when crossed
  • 24/7 monitoring experts ready to assist in the case of a triggered alarm
  • Web platform and phone app capability so you can manage the system from anywhere 

Artificial intelligence helps detect patterns of behavior that look suspicious and makes it possible to monitor busy areas while reducing false alarms safely. The technology is also quickly developing to include capabilities such as facial recognition, license plate recognition, audio deterrents, video analytics, advanced weapon detection, and more. 

When it comes to retail, security companies are starting to use AI to detect specific faces (like repeat offenders or known shoplifters) and patterns of behavior to give businesses a chance to act before an incident occurs. 

If you’re unsure whether AI-powered security cameras and equipment are worth the spend, know that AI surveillance cameras can detect and analyze motion, count and report how many individuals are in a space at a given time, and notify staff before an incident is about to occur and deter perpetrators with audio. These capabilities are instrumental in deterring crime and mean you don’t need a large in-person security team.

The advantage of commercial-grade AI security technology is the software’s ability to learn and continuously improve in threat prevention. Together with a team of trained staff, AI video technology can help cover your bases. 

Maintaining the advantages of BOPIS

Click-and-collect shopping is here to stay, and Bay Alarm can help businesses find the security plan that fits their needs. Bay Alarm’s live video monitoring offer is advanced video security designed to prevent crime and protect businesses of all sizes and industries. 

Contact us today for more information about Bay Alarm’s retail security offerings. 

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