Endless Inventory Options with Endless Aisle
February 8, 2021
With the convergence of omni-commerce, real-time inventory visibility, fast fulfillment, and any number of ways to get products to the customer—endless aisle brings the best of these capabilities together to deliver an unbeatable customer experience.
If you’ve ever been in a store to browse through the merchandise or locate a particular product, chances are you’ve been approached by a retail associate. They probably asked, “Are you finding everything you need? Is there anything I can help you find?”… or something to that effect to help get what you want and deliver a great in-store experience.
Finding items in the store, depending on the retailer, is a much different experience today. What once was limited to inventory on the store shelves, in the back room, or available at a nearby store is now open to a sea of endless product options with endless aisle.
Endless aisle gives retail associates and shoppers in the store the ability to virtually browse and purchase a wide range of products. And for any out-of-stock items or products not sold in-store, the customer can have them shipped to the store or directly to their home.
Out-of-Stocks Add Up
While it’s hard to beat the convenience of online shopping, there are many reasons why consumers still go the store. They may want or need something immediately, enjoy seeing or trying on things in person, want to avoid delivery charges, or have questions on the products they’re about to purchase. But even with these drivers, physical retailers are still losing sales to out-of-stock items, which come with hefty losses.
According to 600 households surveyed by IHL Group, retailers are missing out on roughly $1 trillion in sales because they don’t have on hand what customers want to buy in their stores. Shoppers worldwide experience $984 billion worth of out-of-stocks and $144.9 billion in North America alone. And if the shopper happens to be an Amazon Prime member, they’re 52 percent more likely than other consumers to take out their phones and buy what they need online when faced with out-of-stocks.
Let’s take a closer look at the out-of-stock shopper breakdown:
- 32 percent faced empty shelves
- 16 percent failed to find staff to help
- 17 percent found staff, but not merchandise
- 18 percent noted the price in-store didn’t match an ad
- 17 percent didn’t get the product for other reasons
Endless aisle paired with real-time inventory visibility can help retailers avoid many of these missed-opportunity scenarios.
Advantages of Endless Aisle
With Veras Extend unified product search, associates can provide an endless aisle to customers by searching an endless number of SKUs across the entire retail chain. It consolidates the physical and virtual catalogs into a single friendly interface to show what’s available in-store or globally. Whether items are fulfilled through direct vendor ship, ecommerce, warehouse ship or sourced from another store, Veras Extend unified product search helps retailers create the ultimate merchandising and fulfillment strategy.
Endless aisle experiences increase conversions by allowing shoppers to review all available products without being limited to on-site selections through the global search icon.
Available on mobile devices, store associates can support customers anywhere in the store to:
- Present an interactive digital experience often superior to what they can achieve by physically browsing items in-store
- Easily toggle between products available in-store vs. products available globally
- Search the entire retail catalog to present product availability, more product options, or similar items
- View rich product details, images, videos, relevant promotions, and customer reviews
- Ship-to-store, reserve at another store for fast pickup, or ship any out-of-stock items directly to the customer
And all of this rich product data isn’t limited to endless aisle. It’s leveraged across all retail applications on the Veras Extend platform to support clienteling, remote selling, mPOS, self-checkout and in-store kiosks.
Expanded Product Search
Veras Extend unified product search is unique in that it allows associates to search products in a more comprehensive manner. Traditional product searches are narrowly executed by color, type, SKU, price or key words. However, the engine behind our unified product search is broader, allowing for more complex requests that you would typically find in real-world scenarios to yield better results.
Take for instance a customer searching for a red sweater. Is it cardinal red, candy apple red, dark red, maroon, burgundy, or other variation? So many possibilities exist, which is why our endless aisle search makes ‘red’ an attribute that can be tied to a broader family of reds. The same logic applies to sizing or price—to search for a range of medium-sized items or price range—or any other attribute of a product.
The way people shop is evolving, and leading retailers are evolving to meet their needs. The good news is that retailers and consumers alike benefit from having a complete picture through real-time data and connected systems to deliver the best outcomes. So next time you step into a store, don’t be surprised when you’re approached by an associate, tablet in hand, ready to help you find something in the store (or elsewhere).