Why retailers like Sephora are updating their BOPIS platforms

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Sephora has become the latest retailer to give its delivery and pickup options a technology upgrade, with an updated BOPIS platform.

The cosmetics giant announced on Tuesday that it is switching to Commercetools for its underlying commerce platform from what it described as an “old legacy system”. Company executives say the new cloud-based headless technology will provide a more seamless and customizable experience for every customer, which they hope will improve same-day delivery and online shopping services and in-store pick-up (BOPIS).

During the pandemic, many retailers rolled out BOPIS for the first time, to save store sales while restrictions were placed on in-person purchases. Now, many retailers are using 2022 to upgrade their pickup and delivery systems as they become more popular. Target, for example, announced that it was testing more features to add to its curbside pickup service, such as the ability to return items and place a Starbucks order. Others, like Steve Madden, are also making backend upgrades with a new order management system to meet growing demand. In 2021, buyers spent nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars on BOPIS orders, according to a February 2022 report, with the BOPIS market expected to reach over $703 billion by 2027.

The new technology “allows us to improve, adapt and create smooth and seamless experiences for our customers across all of our features, including but not limited to BOPIS, same day delivery, checkout and so much more,” Sephora CTO Sree Sreedhararaj said in an email to Modern Retail.

Sephora would not split the share of its in-store sales versus online. But Sreedhararaj said there was “a very healthy balance between physical sales and online sales”, and growing popularity in BOPIS and same-day delivery.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in both,” Sreedhararaj said, “and more recently, with the expansion of our same-day delivery across the United States and Canada, it’s clear that the ease and convenience are a major consideration for where and how our customers enjoy shopping.”

A June 2022 study conducted by Sephora with Dynata found that same-day delivery is the most popular service users want to see. About 63% said they would use same-day delivery because they ran out of a favorite beauty product and needed it fast.

Dirk Hoerig, founder and CEO of Commercetools, told Modern Retail that the company’s technology enables customers like Sephora to unify the in-store and online shopping experience. Additionally, a more unified system triggers faster and more efficient online transactions and in-store withdrawals.

“It really means that every POS system they have in every store has to be connected to the global digital platform,” Hoerig said.

A study from November 2021 from last mile solutions provider Lasership surveyed more than 100 retail professionals and found that 87% had implemented BOPIS systems. But more than half faced issues with product availability, strained capacity or staffing issues, the survey found.

Another top priority for Sephora, Hoerig said, is personalization. This means that the system is able to give customers better recommendations on what products are trending or what they might want to buy. While it’s too early to say which specific examples Sephora will be rolling out, this could mean having different products suggested as a last-minute add-to-cart option, or different homepage links based on past shopping habits. .

“Businesses need to be flexible,” Hoerig said. “They need to be able to take ownership of their customer experience. They need to be able to roll things out quickly and they need to be able to roll out new business models. »

Commercetools works through a headless architecture, which means that the back-end of a website – like an order management system – is decoupled from the front-end. This allows retailers like Sephora to customize the front-end of a website — the part the customer sees — without affecting the part of the website that helps manage pickup and delivery orders.

Sephora has long focused on ramping up its technology in the name of new services. In May 2021, Sephora’s senior vice president and general manager of e-commerce, Carolyn Bojanowski, told Modern Retail that the company started with online booking and in-store pickup before moving to BOPIS.

Omnicom Commerce Group’s Bryan Gildenberg said the switch to Commercetools was not surprising given the cloud-based technology’s capabilities. The ability to customize offers can help Sephora increase what customers spend on their pickup orders, he said.

“The headless nature of this type of solution makes it easy to vary and tailor images, messages, and offers to your buyers in a way that requires far less effort than an e-commerce solution,” said Gildenberg.

He said BOPIS-like services are increasingly popular in the United States due to a car-centric culture where people may want to run errands between weekend appointments or take a pit stop. fast on the way to an event.

For an American family, car-based convenience is a reality,” Gildenberg said. “Even 10 years ago, when we were trying to predict the future of e-commerce, one of the things we were still fairly certain of was that BOPIS would play a huge role.”

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