What is Endless Aisle?

What is Endless Aisle?

What is Endless Aisle?

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Ever experienced the frustration of walking into your favourite retail store and finding your to-be-purchased item “out of stock?” Or that beautiful piece of fashion clothing either not “as per your size” or “not in your preferred colours?” This is a common hazard, particularly for frequent shoppers in India.

Despite the rapid growth of online retail and e-commerce in India, many shoppers still like to do their shopping in the brick-and-mortal stores, as they get to feel and check the quality of their purchases before making them. Many customers also like to check for branded products online, but then purchase them only at the retail store. Not having those products in stock not only adds to the frustration of the customer, but also results in a loss of sale for the store.

Providing a combination of online and offline customer experience within the retail store is proving to be the ideal solution, and this is where the concept of an “Endless Aisle” helps. An Endless Aisle allows retail stores to provide their customers with the virtual experience of browsing through the “out-of-stock” products and even ordering for them. The Endless Aisle works well when combined with the concept of “Drop shipping,” using which retailers do not have to stock all their inventory items, and the customer order can be directed to the supplier, who supplies the purchased item directly to the purchaser.

Benefits of Endless Aisle

By combining virtual technology into physical retail stores, EA provides an enhanced customer experience particularly for today’s millennials. It also works effectively for smaller retail or popup stores in India, who can only carry and display a limited portion of the overall brand range of products, popularly referred to as the “Out of Range” items in retail circles.

On the business side, the retail brand can present the complete range of products to its customers, without the need to stocking up their inventory. Customers can order the products virtually using the Click & Collect (C&C) mechanism, using which they can either have the products delivered to their home, or come back later to pick them from the store.

By providing more product choices, retail brands ensure higher brand loyalty from consumers, which can lead to a rise in in-store conversion rate for product sales.

Other benefits include:

  • Capturing customer insights for better product positioning and personalized marketing.
  • Increasing product inventory without expanding retail floor space.
  • Reducing the use of mannequins and other forms of displays.

Challenges faced by Endless Aisle and overcoming them

Implementing an EA retail strategy has its share of challenges, including the technology part and the seamless integration of the store employees, product suppliers, and the complete process.

  • Enabling your store employees

Along with maintaining your inventory levels, your store employees must be able access the real-time inventory information, while communicating with the customer. Technology providers like Ace Turtle provide omnichannel solutions with inventory management system for a consolidated view of the inventory across multiple devices, which can be the buyer’s order console or point-of-sale displays.

EA technology can also be an effective tool for your sales reps to achieve their sales targets.

  • Working with the product suppliers

To enable Drop shipping, retail stores must integrate the customer order with the product suppliers, and have the mechanism to ensure that the product is delivered at the right price and on schedule to the customer.

  • Centralizing the order

Technology that can enable inventory tracking and sales order fulfilment across multiple channels is a major challenge for store retailers. This can be done by centralizing all orders from a single location. The distributed order management technology provided by omnichannel solutions can ensure smooth order management for retailers.

Order centralization also resolves the problems associated with distributed inventory and improves the sell-through rate for the brand.

Enabling higher EA adoption in retail

Customers repeatedly turn to retailers who can provide them with an exceptional in-store experiences. The deployment of EA technology can free up physical space within the stores, which can now be used for customer promotions and other activities. EA adoption enabled fashion retailer, Max Fashion, to set up digital kiosks across 10 retail stores in Bangalore, which enable customers to place online orders.

Retail store managers must be tech-savvy and trained to address customer queries about omnichannel technology and promote the use of digital kiosks and other in-store devices by their customers.

Other challenges

Compared to product catalogues in e-commerce retail and offline retail modes, retailers can use EA to present a much larger and more diverse product catalogue with more product recommendations and cross-selling opportunities.

While digital kiosks are mostly popular, EA can be enabled by other devices such as tablets and smartphones, as implemented by denim retailer, True Religion with its Apple Watch app.

Conclusion

Despite the challenges, Endless Aisle technology can be a major boost for brick-and-mortar retail stores, particularly as it faces a major challenge from the growth of online retail in India. As implemented by Max Fashion, omnichannel solutions that combine the benefits of online and offline retail are enhancing retail customer experience and brand loyalty.

Want to leverage the power of endless aisle for your business? We can help.

Ace Turtle
itsupport@aceturtle.com
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