Being a retailer try to imagine the frustration of the customer who walks through the store to find a product which is ‘out of stock’ at that particular time or a beautiful piece of fashion garment lying on the table but the customer is not been able to find her desired colour or size, and ultimately opt to buy a similiar alternative. These could be pretty frustrating scenarios, but sadly quite common within Indian retail stores.
E-retail might be spreading its wings, but still there is a sizeable share of consumers who prefer buying from brick and mortar stores. Moreover, these days’ customers explore all channels before making a purchase. And, non availability of products not only cause potential business loss but also results in poor shopping experience.
In order to avoid such scenario endless aisle is an innovative concept. An endless aisle not only allows customers to virtually browse the out of stock inventory but also order from it. In fact, it also allows explore the inventory which is not placed on shelf, but is available within the store. Usually, an endless aisale is implemented via a digital kiosk.
In India, few big chain retailers such as Max Fashions, adidas are already leveraging from this technology. Last year, Max Fashion, owned by Dubai-based Landmark Group, had decided to install digital kiosk in its Bengaluru stores as the part of omni channel strategy. The new concept has enabled the users to shop online using digital kiosks at physical stores. The company had launched this technology with an aim to generate 5 per cent of revenue via improving store conversion. Ace Turtle was the solution provider to implement this technology.
How did Max Fashions increase 15%-18% store conversion via endless aisle?
Landmark Group’s leading value fashion brand offers clothing, accessories and footwear for the entire family. Launched in 2004, the brand is known for ‘Everyday Fashion’ and its ability to offer discerning shoppers a vast range of choices at affordable prices, international styling and great quality.
The mail issues were business loss due to out of stock products, inconsistencies in product availability and inventory lead to a significant loss of sales for retailers. Brick & Mortar retail stores have low conversion rates of 18-30% due to inventory shortage, unavailability of sizes and colours.
Max along with Ace Turtle deployed the endless aisle in select stores in Bangalore to provide assisted sales service to their customers to order products in-store and have the option of home delivery or block and collect at another Max store.
Stores Max stores in Bangalore are equipped with digital kiosks that enable the store staff and customers to browse and order products. As of now, the total Stores enabled with endless aisle stand at 10
With this tech integration the stores’s inventory displays an approx. 40,000 SKUs of. With the introduction of the endless aisle, overall inventory is magnified by more than 2.5X. Inventory in the endless aisle is a combination of the inventory at the warehouse and at other stores. Total Inventory: 100,000 SKUs
Contribution to Sales
No. of orders from the digital kiosks have added to the overall store sales. Kiosk sales contribute 4% to sales in stores
(Source: Ace Turtle)
Encouraged by the tremendous response, ethnic wear retailer Soch is also planning to enable its store with endless aisales. The system will be handled by Arvind, the firm which is responsible for Soch’s omni-channel strategies. The company plans to implement the same this year by July-August.
However, each store is different, its needs are different; hence, you need to be very careful while deploying the concept.
Here are quick tips to consider before deploying the endless aisale to your stores..
Different store, different strategy
As per the study conducted by iQmetrix last year, the overall technology of an endless aisale is still at evolving stage, and cannot fetch same results for every retailer. All it depends upon retailers’ unique qualities that will set them apart from competition. The very concept of an endless aisale is most successful in food and grocery stores. An endless aisale makes more sense for the retailers who have large inventories and they cannot install entire assortment within the store. Let’s take the example of ‘outdoor grills’ as the category, you can hardly put three-four styles on physical display and remaining can be exhibit via an endless aisale.
Enhancing, not replacing
Endless aisale may help in faster browsing of products but it is not the replacement of store associates. It is a prevailing fear that installation of endless aisale may omit the requirement on floor store staff. Keep in mind, associates not only helps in completing the order cycle but they also educate the customers about available products. Moreover, they need to be available to answer any questions customers may have. Though, it is equally important to train the staff and equip them well with new technology.
Comprehensive brand strategy
Endless aisale can also be a medium to tell your brand story. In fact, there are many companies which have done heavy investments videos, social media and other marketing content, and that can be leveraged as part of the endless aisle.