- Stein Mart is introducing a “smart button” to advance its buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) experience. Customers can push a button that alerts store associates to when the BOPIS customer has arrived, according to a press release sent to Retail Dive.
- Stein Mart is furthering its partnership with Inference Solutions for the smart button technology, which triggers a virtual agent that automates an overhead page for employees. Stein Mart introduced BOPIS services to all of its 283 stores in 2019.
- Stein Mart said it anticipates 15% of consumers’ online orders to be picked up in-store. In early 2019, the retailer launched an internal effort to rethink BOPIS in its operations, which the retailer noted as important to consumers, according to an Inference Solutions case study.
Stein Mart has been tapping into emerging technologies to improve its operations for a while. The retailer announced its rollout of BOPIS into its stores in September. Last year, the retailer introduced also lockers for Amazon pick-ups, revamped its loyalty program and improved point-of-sale and a mobile app for store associates. 
“We didn’t want the experience to be anonymous, or to miss an opportunity to connect with our customers,” Maurice Louwerse, Stein Mart’s director of IT Technical Services, said in a statement. “We wanted in-store pick-up to be a unique touchpoint, where store associates could interact with customers and provide engaging experiences.”
Stein Mart’s bet on engaging BOPIS customers could prove fruitful. For other retailers looking to keep up with major competitors, BOPIS may be a critical factor. A report from return service Doddle found that 85% of more than 2,000 American consumers surveyed said they had made more in-store purchases while picking up their online purchases. Another survey from e-commerce firm CommerceHub found that 93% of consumers expected to pick up their online purchases in-store to save money and time during the 2019 holiday season.