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Endless Aisle Technique: Expand Your Inventory and Enhance Sales!

vijay

Vijay Kumar

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

February 5, 2024

12 min read

A change in market trends brings along new needs, requirements, and strategies for business models to adapt to the market. Most of you might be well aware of the rising online-buying metrics in recent years, especially during and after the COVID era. Since eCommerce has found a sweet spot in people’s lives, their shopping behaviour changed drastically. They’ve become more inclined towards online purchases. It’s no surprise that Global eCommerce sales reached USD 5.2 trillion in 2021, and experts predict this figure could increase to USD 8.1 trillion by 2026. This means a whopping 56% hike in eCommerce sales. 

Endless Aisle

Although the upsurge in eCommerce purchasing is quite evident, there’s another side to the coin! The brick-and-mortar stores aren’t going out of fashion or becoming less significant in a consumer’s shopping. Many people still prefer to buy products from retail stores, as they want more of a tangible experience, allowing them to touch and feel the goods before they buy them. This also helps them avoid shipping costs. Reports say that consumers worldwide will spend USD 6.3 trillion in retail stores in 2024, which is a 9.4% increase from the last year. Besides that, another recent market report suggests an increase in global retail sales by nearly USD 8.5 trillion in the 2021-2027 forecast period. It would account for an overall 32.4% increase and a 4.8% average annual growth rate.

Owing to the increased use of eCommerce sites, the impatient online shopping habits ingrained in consumers may pose a certain level of difficulty for retail stores. The problem lies in falling short of stock in the physical stores, unlike the eCommerce ones. This shortage may disappoint the customer who travelled to your store only to find the product out of stock. They may end up buying from another online or physical store. 

This article highlights how brick-and-mortar shops can deal with this problem and avoid losses due to limited storage space.

Endless Aisle: The New Age Sales Technique

The answer to a retailer’s incapacity to satisfy the maximum number of customers lies in implementing Endless Aisle technology. No matter how big a showroom a business owns, accommodating all the products would still be nearly impossible. There is often a wide variety of items that need stocking and displaying. Therefore, some of the products will be out of stock every now and then. Research by experts reveals that retail stores lose around 10% of their sales due to items being out of stock, which is a huge amount when you consider the cumulative figure. In contrast, an eCommerce store can fit countless products, providing enough bandwidth to display them beautifully. The online shop will allow customers to explore all the products easily.

Endless Aise technology is a perfect solution that aims to combine the online and in-store shopping experience for a customer. With this technology, retail stores can create interactive kiosks, incorporating tablets or other mobile devices, allowing their customers to buy unavailable products online. The product is delivered to the buyer’s doorstep or made available for pick-up later. 

Today, customers face out-of-stock situations in almost 1 out of 3 shopping trips they make. So, what happens when a product runs out of stock? The retailer can lead the buyers to the Endless Aisle and encourage them to purchase online. It stops the buyer from deviating to another store, and the in-store sales don’t drop either. 

Can Endless Aisle Kiosks Compete With Online Shopping?

Is incorporating Endless Aisle kiosks at your store worthwhile when eCommerce sites can provide customers the comfort of shopping from their homes? The eCommerce website can showcase a wide array of products without the risk of stockout. They also offer hands-on product information, encouraging the customer to complete the purchase instantly. 

Nonetheless, many customers prefer taking a stroll in the actual aisles at retail stores to pick products. This is true because experts suggest that 90% of retail sales still happen through physical stores and only 10% take place on e-commerce websites. This fact implies that the customer is out there to shop, looking for the tangibility that physical outlets provide. The difference lies in the probability of a customer to make the final purchase. With eCommerce websites, the customer’s journey begins online. In the case of Endless Aisle, the customer has already made the decision, done their online research, and is only coming to purchase the item or scan through its variants, if any. So, the possibility of a sale occurring is higher with Endless Aisle. 

Besides that, retailers need the Endless Aisle set up because customers accustomed to digital shopping don’t like to deal with limited inventory anymore. They have every option available at a single tap of their finger. But it’s a daunting task for a retail store to maintain inventory all the time. Attempting to do so comes with a risk of overstocking and overbuying for businesses. Thus, Endless Aisles is where the inventory will always stay full and cater to every customer that enters your store. 

Will Consumers Welcome Endless Aisle?

The addictive online browsing culture breeding compulsive online buying habits increases the probability of consumers welcoming Endless Aisle with open arms. From their bottomless drinks to shopping items, they love endless options at their disposal! Online platforms have no limitations in terms of space and design. Retailers can display countless products digitally with ample images and details for a seamless browsing experience. Endless Aisle allows retailers to showcase the full range of their products to the customer through a user-friendly platform. 

Apart from that, many customers visit physical stores with premeditated purchasing decisions that they made while conducting online research for the product. Thus, they come with the impression that the product is available at the store. However, the outlet may be unable to meet that expectation due to limited inventory. Having the Endless Aisle technology installed will fulfill these expectations, and customers will leave the store happy and satisfied. 

Advantages of Implementing Endless Aisle in Your Store

Endless Aisle can do more than offer a solution for unavailable products at the retail store. 

  • The idea of using Endless Aisle is not only to help customers find the product they’re looking for but also to help them cruise through the whole range of products a retailer has to offer. The in-store interactive kiosks, tablets, or other mobile devices also help buyers scroll through the variants that may not be available at the outlet at that moment.
  • Besides displaying the array of products, this versatile tool allows the retailer to upsell and cross-sell related items. Like the eCommerce website, Endless Aisle can give customers relevant potential suggestions to purchase more products along with the one they came for. This can add to the revenue and increase overall sales for the retailer. 
  • Another fascinating advantage of Endless Aisles is that it encourages customer loyalty. Directing the customer to buy the out-of-stock product online instead of letting them turn to another brand makes your customer stay. This way, you keep sales and your customers. The satisfying experience and endless shopping possibilities may even keep your customers returning more often to the physical store. 
  • Additionally, merging the physical and online experiences gives retailers a competitive advantage over other physical stores with limited access to their range. Having an edge over competitors may drive more sales home for your business. 
  • Implementing Endless Aisle technology may also reduce inventory costs for you. Since retailers don’t need to stock the excess inventory, it can lower the storage, handling, transportation, and overhead costs. 
  • Last but not least, Endless Aisle assists the store associates in catering to and better understanding the customers’ needs. It gives added flexibility to the associates as they can sell inventory from any distribution center or outlet. They can also order the products through Endless Aisle on behalf of customers and get them delivered to them if the product in demand is out of stock.  

Essential Features of an Ideal Endless Aisle Tool

There are several factors to pay attention to when selecting an endless Aisle tool for your store. Here’s what you should look for:

Mobile-friendly Interface for Easy Access

Smartphones are an excellent tool to convert your visitors into returning customers. Statistics revealed from research show that Mobile e-commerce sales surged to USD 2.2 trillion globally, covering a staggering 60% of the entire e-commerce. The growth in eCommerce is incredible, with a rise from 56% in 2018 to a predicted 62% by 2027. Customers prefer their smartphones for most of their internet browsing needs. From emails to order information, people want it all on their phones for on-the-go convenience. Therefore, it’s mandatory for Endless Aisle tools to make significant product information accessible on mobile devices and must enable the processing of orders and returns through them. 

Integration With Other Retail Systems

Several other management systems in the retail business need consideration when installing an Endless Aisle system. The tool must easily integrate with other software to provide real-time inventory information and product details or accomplish more tasks. This integration will help the system function smoothly and stay up-to-date. 

Easy-to-use Interface for Customers and Employees

The key to making sales quick is simplifying the purchase process as much as possible. Your customers will likely refrain from using complicated tools to buy your product. They need more patience and interest in understanding a complex interface or follow too many instructions while shopping. Shopping is a fun experience; a good Endless Aisle will keep it that way by providing an easily navigable platform. This feature will allow flexibility for customers and employees, making purchases more manageable. 

Processing and Extracting Real-time Data 

Ensure you install a cloud-based Endless Aisle software that uses real-time data to track inventory and other relevant information. This system will update the stock as soon as any changes occur. The cloud-based property of the software will also allow access to this data to every employee or associate simultaneously. Moreover, it will provide fully accurate data to the customers accessing the information each time they shop through the Endless Aisle kiosk.  

Store Fulfillment Solutions for Payment

As many payment options are available on eCommerce websites, customers are used to paying for the product with their choice of payment mode. They may like to pay online or pick up the product from the retail outlet later. Another way could be paying by cash when the product reaches their door. The Endless Aisle tool you choose must have store fulfillment solutions to allow customers to pay as per their preference.

System Customisation for Specific Business Needs

Each business functions differently and has its internal working to run properly. One Endless Aisle configuration a business uses may be less useful or practical for another. So, the ‘one shoe doesn’t fit all’ applies here. You must be able to customise your Endless Aisle system to fit your business requirements to take full advantage of this new-age effective tool. 

Conclusion

Retail stores may want to stock the maximum inventory to satisfy their customers’ different requirements. One way to do that is through an eCommerce website, as the trend for online shopping is on the rise. Retailers can offer more variety with the never-ending display space on digital platforms. Customers also enjoy having tons of options while shopping. They may choose to make their purchases online or visit a physical store. As we’ve entered the digital age, the number of online shoppers is growing. Yet, many buyers still prefer shopping that enables them to touch and feel the product before purchasing. The issue with physical stores is limited inventory and stockouts. Endless Aisle can suffice this need and vast footfall of people at retail stores, combining the physical and online shopping experience in one place. Adopting an Endless Aisle system for your retail store can be the next big step in winning customer loyalty and generating higher sales.     

Is Endless Aisle good for small retail businesses? 

A. The best feature of Endless Aisle is that it massively enhances your inventory space. Since online stores can accommodate a much bigger number of products than physical ones, it can be very beneficial for small retail stores to have such a system in place. The inventory that a limited store space can’t stock is readily displayed on the Endless Aisle kiosk. Customers can view the entire range of products and order them online right there. 

What is the role of store associates in managing Endless Aisles?

A. Store representatives can give visiting customers buying options that may or may not be available at the store at any given time. They can also assist the buyers in navigating through the tool or even place orders on their behalf and have the product shipped to the customer. 

How can I implement the Endless Aisle system in a retail store? 

You must begin by identifying the products that you want to offer on Endless Aisle. If needed, you must tie up with various suppliers to provide a vast range of products. Besides that, you must set aside funds to invest in the technology and infrastructure to incorporate the Endless Aisle system effectively. After setting up the system, you must ensure the product information is up-to-date and consistently monitor the tool’s performance. 

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