Last updated on June 14th, 2022 at 08:59 am
The name of the game in retail today is omnichannel. Create an incredible and unified shopping experience for your customers regardless of whether they’re online or offline. Every retail brand on the planet is either trying to optimize their current systems, and they’re actively taking strides toward purchasing or rolling out a complete–and associate friendly–omnichannel offering. An endless aisle omnichannel stategy is a key piece to any omnichannel offering.
What is Endless Aisle?
Endless aisle is a term for ordering out of stock or unavailable items for in-store customers. Retailers can increase sales and customer satisfaction by enabling store associates to fulfill orders for items at other store locations or distribution centers.
Given the convenience and business benefits, you’d think that this would be more prevalent amongst retail brands. However, in NewStore’s annual research report we found that 70% of associates can check inventory at other locations, but only 57% of brands allow them to then place an endless aisle order for the customer.
Let’s take a deeper dive into why it’s important that omnichannel-aspiring retail brands look to rollout endless aisle capabilities.
What are the Benefits of Endless Aisle?
Save the Sale & Maximize Margins
With endless aisle you never have to worry about a customer leaving your store empty handed and disappointed–every product, color, and size is accessible and ready for purchase. Saving the sale helps retail brands deliver a better shopping experience and elevate in-store sales.
If the local store is out of stock, 17% of customers say they will immediately purchase an item from an online competitor. ‘Immediately,’ in this case, is quite literal—those customers are placing the order while still inside the store. Additionally, 37% will place the order with an online retailer once they get home, while 35% will visit a competing store. In short, the customer must know immediately that they can still acquire an out-of-stock item through your company, otherwise that sale is almost always lost.
Further, brands can leverage endless aisle to increase their profit margins by maintaining the markup for products by selling the available inventory, regardless of location.
Increased Inventory Visibility for Both Your Staff and Customers
Endless aisle ensures that store associates can acquire any out-of-stock items, regardless of location. How? Real-time inventory visibility into the organization’s entire product catalog. With endless aisle, store associates have access to accurate–and real-time–inventory and the visibility to coordinate convenient and speedy delivery for purchases made on the store floor.
While inventory lookup can happen at a traditional POS or digital kiosk, store associates armed with mobile devices are able to see inventory levels instantly without leaving the customer’s side, which provides for a more personalized shopping experience.
One of the biggest advantages retail brands have when they’re a fully functioning omnichannel retail business is the elimination of technological and informational silos. An omnichannel shopping cart eliminates the barriers between in-store and online transactions and provides a single view of the customer, order, and product. It also provides customers with the ability to begin their shopping journey from anywhere, online or in-store.
Operationally, this is a massive advantage because it doesn’t matter if it’s the customer or store associate who adds products to the shopping cart. Either way the transaction will include additional products purchased in-store as well as from other fulfillment locations in the event of an endless aisle transaction.
The quality of the shopping experience today is the ultimate measuring stick for consumers dictating where and, more importantly, how often they spend their money. Retailers must find ways to win customers and keep them coming back to stay profitable.
Endless aisle helps associates prevent lost sales and, coupled with the ability to access a customer’s profile / omnichannel shopping cart, opens the door for cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
For retailers who have adopted an endless aisle strategy, the endless aisle accounts for up to 10% of their revenue, according to a report by Forrester Research. This is a mix of increased sales along with increased customer loyalty due to their integrated online presence.
With the ability to combine in-store and endless aisle purchases into a single transaction, store associates are able to increase sales totals instantly.
Despite online retailers being so troublesome for brick-and-mortar chains, there will always be a desire for physical locations where customers can make immediate purchases. The difference is that those in-person sales are no longer enough for anyone. Streamlining your customer service strategy with an endless aisle omnichannel strategy offers your company the best chance to maintain its customer base and thrive in the decades to come.
Check out NewStore’s endless aisle solution and start saving sales.