Over the course of time, Digital Order Return In Store has emerged as a consumer demand


Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes

Digital Order Return In Store (DORIS) has evolved as a significant consumer demand, complementing the Buy Online Pickup In Store (BOPIS) trend. Lee Peterson discusses these retail innovations and their impact on consumer preferences in the digital age.

Digital-Retail Integration

Remember the halcyon days of 2013, when we thought one of the best ways to keep stores open was to integrate technology into them? The ideas flowed abundantly, ranging from in-store beacons, endless aisles, product locators, to instant ID, among others.However, the big question was, did any of these tech innovations genuinely mean anything to the consumer? At the time, no one really knew, or seemed to care. But the retail industry charged ahead, driven by the latest gizmo, marking the spirit of 2013.

Assuming that a lot of the tech being deployed wasn’t going to last, we sought the opinions of over 2,000 consumers (you know, the BOSS). ,In 2013, the results were clear–BOPIS was a key element that retailers needed to implement asap. In fact, we were among the first to identify this trend, and we’ve been beating the BOPIS drum ever since. Fast forward to today, when we asked nearly the same questions to consumers, the responses were akin to those from a decade ago, but with a twist—a new aspect we’ll explore in a retail minute.

86% Buy Online Pickup in Stores

High Tech, High Touch

One thing was very clear in 2013; BOPIS was miles ahead of more advanced tools being tested, screaming for attention. The consumer’s plea was simple: “PLEASE, just let us drive up, pick up our order and be on our way”. BOPIS scored higher than any other option on our survey, with 86% of respondents rating it a 6 or 7 (top 2 box scores), making it the most preferred digital retail technology. To be clear, that means that 86% of consumers expressed a clear demand for retailers to establish a system that accommodates them picking up their pre-purchased items from their vehicles without hassle. No beacons, no product locators or decision narrowing, just put my stuff in the trunk please, I’ve got other things to do. BOPIS even eclipsed ‘mobile wallet’ (86% to 23%). To us, this was a clear message from the consumer to retailers of all stripes:

Give us BOPIS.

Ten Years Later…

Buy Online Pickup in Store Example

Move the clock ahead ten years, and when we asked the same questions about important technologies, BOPIS retained its importance to consumers, ranking #2 overall. However, the significance of the response has slightly waned, with only 45% of respondents placing it in the top two boxes. It’s a solid number, albeit not as pressing as in 2013. The difference in the weight of the current response can be attributed to the fact that most retailers have finally (we say ‘finally’ because it took many retailers almost the entire past ten years to fulfill the 2013 BOPIS demand) implemented the demand from consumers: just put it in my trunk. And with that, surprise…a new sheriff surfaced in our most recent 2023 study—DORIS. DORIS (Digital Order RETURN In Store) is here, front and center. Consumers not only prefer to collect their orders without entering the store but also want to return items, whether bought online or otherwise, in a similar manner: drive up, receive an immediate return credit, and be on their way. They DON’T want to do returns in the store, but from the convenience of their car. As living proof, Target, usually ahead of the game with consumers, is already piloting DORIS, demonstrating its alignment with consumer preferences.


What’s clear from our research is that, once again, consumers are pushing retailers towards something beyond traditional operations, much like they did a decade ago. We believe that, just like with BOPIS, DORIS can help retailers stay relevant and strengthen their brand. If Target is implementing DORIS, shouldn’t your business at least be discussing it? According to Retail Dive, returns and their handling are not just essential; they also have the potential to drive business growth. DORIS is a win-win proposition, regardless of how you look at it or, more importantly, how your customers look at it.

Read: Mastering the Online Returns Game

So let this be the first shot over your bow. DORIS is poised for success. Take it from us, who started preaching about BOPIS a decade ago. Consumers are more enthusiastic about it than any other in-store technology combination in 2023, and the ship is already sailing. Let’s not take another ten years to get this one done; let’s get to work now.

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