Online shopping offers the convenience customers want in some cases, but in many situations, nothing can replace the ability to go to a store and pick out items for themselves. It’s enjoyable and simple, and it allows them to see what they’re getting rather than buying a product online without seeing its true colour, size, texture, or construction.
Of course, there is a way to get the best of both worlds: endless aisle technology. For brick-and-mortar retailers, endless aisle omnichannel technology allows you to:
- Give customers access to more products than you can physically display
- Enhance the customer shopping experience
- Bridge the gap between an in-store relationship and an online relationship with customers so they can shop with you in both formats
- Upsell and cross-sell models with online recommendations
- Prevent lost revenue from items being unavailable in stores
- Strengthen brand awareness and loyalty
What Is Endless Aisle?
Endless aisle is a unique type of system that allows customers to browse a retailer’s full inventory rather than just the items on the shelf, essentially making the aisle “endless.” These systems integrate both in-store touch screen kiosks and mobile apps on customers’ own tablets and mobile phones.
Customers can scan items on their phones or explore items on the kiosk screens to see product variations and product availability at their current store, nearby stores, and your online store. Customers can even purchase items through the app or kiosk, opting for in-store pick-up or home delivery.
Endless aisle is an ideal way to expand product range options without overloading your store with more inventory than it can handle. When customers want a size or colour that isn’t in stock at their store, they can explore other ways to buy it, either at your other locations or online.
This is critical because it can virtually eliminate the problem of losing a sale because a specific product isn’t in stock. Customers can easily find the product and choose how they want to purchase it.
The Role of In-Store Devices
Most brick and mortar retailers also have online stores, and ideally, you want customers to shop in both ways. It can be difficult, though, to introduce an in-store customer to your online shopping options.
In-store touch screens bridge this gap. Customers see these kiosks as they shop so they turn to them as a resource. In many cases, those kiosks then connect them to your online shop and get them used to your online user experience.
Ultimately, experiences with the in-store kiosk will likely lead them to download your mobile app too. To make this easy, kiosks can display QR codes that customers can scan to easily download your app or reach your online store.
Remember that if a customer doesn’t see the exact product they want in your store, chances are that they’ll head online to search for it anyway. If their only option is to Google the product, they’re likely to end up on a competitor’s site instead of yours. In-store devices and complementing mobile apps keep customers in your own environment so they can find what they need from you rather than looking elsewhere.
Integrating Mobile Apps
Customers today use mobile phones for everything and anything. Why not use those phones to improve their in-store shopping experience?
In-store kiosks and signage in your store will encourage users to ultimately download your endless aisle app so they can round out their shopping experience. This allows them to check availability, complete purchases, and browse products on their own phones just as they would with the touch screen kiosks.
When customers get used to the convenience of using your app in-store, they’re more likely to shop from your app at home as well. This is an ideal way to show customers that you’re not only an option for in-store shopping but for easy online shopping too.
Barcode Scanning in Endless Aisle Technology
Every brick-and-mortar retailer has lost business to this scenario: a customer is shopping in the store and sees an item they love, but the size or colour they need isn’t on the shelf. They try to find an associate to ask, and they can’t find an available associate, so they leave. Some introverted customers will not even look for an associate – they’d rather leave without the product than talk to an associate to find it.
Even when customers do find an available associate, it takes time for the associate to look up the product and check its availability at this and other stores nearby. Customers could spend all this time and still leave without the product they need. That adds up to a poor shopping experience and potentially a lost customer for life.
With an endless aisle system, on the other hand, customers can scan a barcode with their own phones. This brings them to the product’s page where they can instantly see its various sizes and options, checking availability for each. When customers find answers more easily, they’re more likely to make a purchase so you bring in more revenue.
In addition, because customers can use their own phones, they don’t need to carry products to your kiosks to get the information they need. This makes your store more shopper-friendly for customers buying heavy or large items as well as those with limited mobility or physical capabilities.
More Conversions and a Better Customer Experience with Endless Aisle
When it’s implemented well, endless aisle technology can give you more retail success for both in-store and online purchases, and both short-term and long-term timelines. Customers are more likely to make purchases in the moment because they’re more likely to find what they need. In the process, you’re improving your relationship with them so they’re more likely to become and remain loyal customers for years to come.
Brick and mortar retailers have been competing with the online shopping world for years, but this technology allows you to integrate those two shopping experiences rather than trying to compete. To learn more about our endless aisle product and how it can help your store, explore our technology today.