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Endless aisle: A new age inventory management or an Omnichannel POS Strategy?


June 10, 2021
6 MIN READ
Vinculum
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Vinculum
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Imagine a situation where you’ve liked an item online which was showing in stock and when you went pick up at the store, your desired item was not available. In a recent study, it was found that half of the customers who shop in big box stores (and just under half of all online shoppers) have abandoned an order because their desired item wasn’t available at the store they chose.

According to DigitalCommerce360, 17% of buyers make an immediate purchase at a competitor’s website using mobile devices, while 37% purchase the product from an online retailer once they get home, and 35% of the customers searches for the item at a different store nearby. This especially affects large consumer durables such as appliances, home furnishings, and major electronics that aren’t available where the customer expects them to be. And this is where the idea of ‘endless aisle’ come to the rescue. You’ve probably heard endless aisle adding up to the hype surrounding retail in this point-of-sale era. But what is it?

What is Endless Aisle? 

Endless aisle refers to the idea of allowing a customer to collect all relevant product information on a mobile device and then conduct a store transaction without ever having to approach an actual cash register.

Well, consider endless aisle to be a representation of how consumers shop in your store. It’s not about what you have in your store but more about what they think they can get when they are with you. Everything is available when they walk into the store, or browse online, or use your mobile app.

So why is everyone making such a fuss about the concept of endless aisle?

Well, traditional retailers are no longer selling products just in-store or online. To capture consumers who want to shop from anywhere at any time, new retail experiences have begun to emerge. This has led to new business models that blur the traditional distinction between in-store and online shopping, including click-and-collect, as well as the widespread adoption of mobile technology.

Advantages of Endless Aisle strategy:

How do you make sure your online and in-store experience match? The answer is Endless Aisle. Here’s how endless aisle benefits retailers:

1. Increased Revenue:

Accessing the inventory of multiple sources helps minimise lost sales, especially if fulfilment options such as free delivery, click & collect at a later date, or from a store close by etc. meet customer expectations. If a retailer can get the missing item from other sources, or a central warehouse, they still have a good opportunity to win the deal for this time and, of course, again in the future. Staff at the stores are also proactive in selling to the shoppers using the technology if sales are still attributed to the store itself.

Endless aisle can also drive incremental revenue. For instance, retailers can offer order in-store facility via staff with tablet devices. The store staff can do up-selling or cross-selling face-to-face with the customer at the shop and increase revenue.

2. Improved Customer experience:

Endless aisles give retailers the ability to not only provide shoppers with an easy way to navigate store aisles via interactive maps, but also gain a deeper understanding of their customers and make improvements to facilitate impulse buying. This is important to retailers because they previously relied on consumer feedback in stores filled with notes about how displays could be improved. This feedback is still gathered—but in a more streamlined and efficient manner that empowers stores to create better shopping experiences by using data.

With endless aisle, when customers walk into a store, there would be no end to the store. It was almost as if you were walking down the street, and just kept seeing more stores that have everything you need to purchase. This shopping experience could be especially beneficial for retailers in the furniture, clothing, electronics, fitness, and shoe categories, where their products tend to be bulky and heavy. By increasing retailers’ ability to match customers’ expectations, their chance of improving their business and customer satisfaction both get higher.

3. Improved Inventory Management:

One of the most time-consuming and expensive aspects of any business is the procurement and storage of inventory. For large warehouse-type retailers, the costs associated with receiving and storing a diverse range of products can be exorbitant. In addition to this, most retailers are also responsible for delivering these goods to their customers—a process which can be time-consuming but is necessary in order to ensure that everyone is able to make a purchase with ease. In a traditional brick and mortar situation, cutting down on inventory has several benefits. If a retailer can dropship the bulk of items directly from their suppliers, then they will not have to hold vast amounts of stock at considerable expense.

Disadvantages of Endless Aisle strategy:

Deploying a complex ‘endless aisle’ system comes with its own drawback. These include range of issues, from poor functionality, weak support, slow updates and more. To manage such issues, it requires constant coordination of process in place, and people to support and advanced technology.

For a rapidly growing business, you should always choose an advanced platform like Magento 2.3 that supports multiple store management or Multiple Source Inventory feature (MIS).

Multi-location or multi-source inventory (MSI) helps retailer to create orders across multiple locations including warehouses and stores from within the Magento admin.

Here’s the features that MSI provides to retailers:

  1. Assign products and their quantities to fulfilment sources such as warehouses, stores, distribution centers, etc.
  2. Manage and track inventory at all the sources
  3. Create rules to prioritize
  4. Manage the inventory fulfilment sources automatically that are used in real-time
  5. Integrate with third-party inventory systems
  6. For the sellers with single inventory location, MSI gives an inventory reservation system that tracks deductions from the salable item stock when customers add the item to their cart.

However, MSI is not enough to manage the process of inventory fulfilment at brick-and-mortar stores and integrate the endless aisle experience. The solution Vinculum provides are customized directly on the Magento native PWA POS.

To understand how to implement Endless Aisle with Vinculum, reach out to us for a free consultation.

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