Isn’t it curious that a number of modern stores now have what they call an “endless aisle”? Fret not, the term connotes nothing life-threatening or disorienting! Rather, the endless aisle is an innovative new mechanism that could spell out greater growth for your physical store.
In this sense, a number of entrepreneurs who handle physical stores are actually taking a leaf out of the book of e-commerce retailers, who’ve often needed to bridge the gaps in supply and demand in this manner. The endless aisle, either in the form of a product page online or with a corresponding in-store facility, enables customers to browse catalogues, then order products that are not immediately in the store’s available stock.
This works for everything from bestselling books that have yet to be in circulation again by the store, to new appliances that will be carefully shipped from overseas. Customers have the option of collecting later on from physical stores or waiting for their shipment in the convenience of their own homes—all the while being unaware of an invisible relationship between the store and its supplier partners.
A Partnership for Endless Reach
What enables a retailer to sell out-of-stock items to the next customer in line is a link to external suppliers—that means, retailers sell from inventory that is kept by these suppliers. From the out-of-stock line, an order is actually made to the external supplier, and from any part in the world, the supplier may ship the product straight to the customer.
This linkage depends on a number of things: actual ensured supply, good relations with external suppliers and shippers, and a reliable system of managing data from customer sales from different transaction points. Behind the success of endless aisle systems are mechanisms such as point-of-sale (POS) systems adapted for the respective industries. Taking it further, some retailers also opt to improve sales with a multi-country POS (system)for efficient transactions involving overseas partners.
An efficiently kept chain of command is what keeps up the illusion of “endlessness” for customers. With the confidence that the product will soon be available to them, customers are driven to push through with purchases from the retailer. Retailers, in turn, minimize the problem of losses in sales and increase chances of gaining customer satisfaction, loyalty, and trust for the brand.
The Importance of Streamlining
The central component in this equation is the capacity of retailers, external suppliers, and all other stakeholders to streamline sales channels, sales locations, and systems.
If so many orders are coming in for different products all at the same time, it helps to organize all the processes, as opposed to trying to manage data on order statuses, shipments, and inventory levels across separate channels.
The streamlining process extends not only to shifting sales systems, but also ensuring a form of logistical centralization for all the orders, and communicating constantly with suppliers to set—then reasonably meet—all of your expectations.
Picking Out the Possibilities
So, is implementing an endless aisle is a wise decision for your business? Should you be finding ways to widen your inventory? Is it worth the additional costs and the shifting of your mindset to accommodate new partners?
The answer is definitely yes—if it is in your immediate plans to scale up and widen the range of products available from your brand. If you play your cards right, the endless aisle will enable endless possibilities for consumption, both in the physical fronts and in online shops.
An endless aisle will prove to be a pleasurable experience for your future customers—akin to the endless excitement of picking out the best from their favorite store’s offerings.