If she can’t return her online purchase in-store, she may not buy it at all.

The retail race for digital supremacy is on. While so many have filed for bankruptcy protection, or closed stores, the trend is clear. Retailers who invested in tech early are doing well. Those who didn’t have struggled to keep their customers excited and engaged with their offerings.

And what’s number 3 on the list of ‘Top 10 Technologies for 2018’ according to the 2018 RIS/Gartner Retail Technology Study? One of our favorites: In-store pickup/return. But technology is just a tool. And while multi-channel customer experiences require a robust, well-integrated technology stack, it is not enough by itself.

Yet all too often retail technology implementation plans fail to allocate enough time and resources to another essential component: Change management. But without good business processes, and employee training and engagement to support your technology, you can’t achieve maximum return on your digital investment. According to the study, “Change Management” was ranked number 6 of the ‘Top obstacles over the next 18 months. And we have seen this first hand.

Retailers have bought the software, underestimated the change management involved, then shelved the software (i.e., they paid for it, but didn’t implement it), because they failed to scope out the appropriate level of change management required to make the project successful before making their technology investment. What a waste!

We’d like to help you avoid that situation. So, in this series of articles, we offer you some questions to consider when designing your change management program.


Buy Online Return In-Store (BORIS) Change Management Questions

  1. What is your company’s high-level goal for BORIS, and how does it fit with your strategic vision?
  2. What is the ideal customer experience for returns?
  3. Why is a positive return process so important to long-term customer loyalty?
  4. How will your BORIS policy and procedures be developed? Can you get store associate buy-in early in the process?
  5. Where will returns be processed?
  6. What signage will be needed in stores to guide the customer?
  7. How should returns be processed?
  8. How should exceptions be handled?
  9. What constitutes ‘return abuse’? And how should it be handled?
  10. Where will returned items be staged before they’re placed back on the selling floor?
  11. Are there different processes for different types of merchandise?
  12. Which stores will you use for testing to develop a baseline for an average number of store transactions, revenue, and labor?
  13. What metrics will be used to monitor BOPIS? What does success look like?
  14. How will desired behaviors be rewarded?
  15. How should store associates provide feedback on the process, or submit suggestions for improvement? And how will they know their feedback has been processed?

As you can see, there’s a lot more to ‘Buy Online Return In-Store’, than just connecting your eCommerce and Point of Sale system with an Order Management System. Next in our series, we’ll look at In-Store Pickup Change Management: 35 questions to get you started. In the meantime, if you have any questions about returns change management, feel free to contact us.