The last time I left a store without buying something because a store associate couldn’t order my size from another location? Two weeks ago.
The retailer lost the sale, the store associate lost her commission, and I lost the perfect black, business casual dress – your classic lose-lose-lose situation. It happens all too often in retail because of a lack of technology. This type of occurrence is frustrating, inconvenient, and entirely unnecessary, as this endless aisle technology absolutely exists.
Of the brands researched for the Mobile Retail Report, only 13% have the ability to order an out of stock item from another store through a mobile device or tablet. The vast majority of retailers simply aren’t adopting it. There are many blockers within retail organizations that could be causing this disconnect between available technology and implemented technology, but one thing should be clear: it’s time to make it a priority. According to Forrester, retailers that do use endless aisle attribute between 1% and 10% of a store’s revenue to it, and while this is certainly a substantial upside, it’s not the only one.
The beautiful thing about making endless aisle orders possible is that it not only saves a sale in the moment, but it is a memorable experience that will encourage loyalty. If I’m new to shopping with a brand – as I was two weeks ago during the [lack of] black dress incident – I’m much more likely to keep coming back if I know that I have a better chance of walking away with items I need or want. And if I am a frequent customer, I’m going to stay that way if my shopping experiences are consistently convenient and fruitful. After all, if there’s one thing Amazon has taught us, it’s that convenience is king over brand loyalty.
We live in a fast paced world, one in which people expect what they want, when they want, and how they want. We can debate the pitfalls of instant gratification culture another day, but there’s no denying it exists. And with unlimited competition for every dollar spent, it’s time for brands to stop being their own worst enemy.
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