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30Oct, 2018

How to Optimize Inventory with Endless Aisle

Author Chris Wilson Category

With all the possibilities of e-commerce, every retailer should know their options. One of the most important things in any retail space is having the inventory needed to fulfill customers’ orders. This becomes more difficult when a retailer’s warehouse runs out of an item. However, the endless aisle is a strategy that can solve that problem, and it’s one of the most important pieces of an inventory strategy for any retailer. This article delves into how to optimize inventory with endless aisles. Do not miss our blog on 6 tips to consider when you are thinking endless aisle.

What Is Endless Aisle?

The endless aisle is a strategy to allow customers to order items, even if they are out of stock. Then, customers can have these items delivered to their homes. It will actually be suppliers other than the retailer delivering the product, but to the customer, it all comes from the same store. Because the customer doesn’t know about what happens behind the scenes, they see the whole process as seamless. They never know an outside supplier is involved, which makes the original retailer seem to have endless aisles of inventory. This strategy is easiest for retailers who have an internet presence already implemented.

What Are the Possibilities of Endless Aisle?

Endless aisle, in short, is a way for a retailer to never run out of anything. There will be no more unhappy customers unable to find what they want. Customers can order whatever they want and have it delivered to their house. All a retailer needs is a good network of suppliers and they will never have to turn down a sale again. Customers can order whatever they wish and have it delivered to them in the time they want it. All of this leads to happy customers, which leads to more business and helps the retailer grow. It begins a spiral of growth for the retailer as they become known for always having everything in stock and meeting their shipping deadlines.

The Importance of Keeping Inventory in Sync

One of the most important pieces of successful implementation of an endless aisle is having all inventory kept up to the minute and coordinated across retailer’s channels. For more information, read our blog on how to manage inventory in an online store. If a retailer promises to deliver an item that they do not have in stock anywhere, it erodes consumer trust and leads to the bad customer experience.  Bad customer experiences can have a disastrous impact on a business. However, with a bit of work behind the scenes, endless aisle will make sure this never happens. Because endless aisle pulls from external suppliers, it’s more important than ever to keep inventory accurate across all stores, suppliers, and systems. Don’t miss our blog on how Magento ERP integration helps in inventory management.

In order to keep inventory from multiple sources in sync, retailers will need to centralize their orders. That way, even if retailers have multiple warehouses or multiple methods for customers to order items, the retailer will easily be able to keep track of all of these orders, without duplication. This is also critical for working with suppliers, as retailers will want to be sure that every real order that is placed is delivered and that there are no fake orders placed. In addition to protecting the company, only asking suppliers to deliver real orders will ensure that the retailer and the supplier keep a good relationship.

Finally, by keeping all inventory in sync across all sources, retailers will be able to communicate accurately with their customers. When retailers know where an ordered item is, they will know how quickly the customer can expect to get it. Customers expect to know when their item left the supplier, when it’s out for shipping, and when it was delivered to their house. And they expect all of this to match the timeline they were given when they ordered. Anything less than this will not be a good customer experience.

How i95Dev Helps with Endless Aisle

In order to implement an endless aisle, retailers need a comprehensive solution. i95Dev can provide that solution. i95Dev’s connectors (Blog on Inventory management with Sage 100) provide updated product visibility, seamless connectivity across channels, and order tracking.

With updated product visibility, any retail employee can tell if the item they want is available to be ordered and delivered to them. By keeping all of these products, visible and up to date, customers will not be disappointed by out of stock messages. Showing only visible items will help keep customer trust and give a good experience.

Equally important is keeping inventory connected across channels. With orders coming in from various online stores, there are a lot of orders to keep track of. If the systems between these channels do not communicate, it will only lead to disaster. With i95Dev, retailers can keep track of all orders, no matter which channel they come from.

Order tracking is the final piece of this puzzle. Because customers expect to have an accurate delivery date, it is imperative that retailers update customers when their item is on its way. That way if there are any delays, the customer knows about them immediately, which will make them more understanding of any delays. Customers also like to be able to track their order even if there are no delays. It helps build their anticipation for their item which, in turn, could help them order from the same retailer again.

Conclusion

An endless aisle is the best way to optimize inventory. By extending their available inventory in this way, a retailer can avoid losing a sale to a competitor and still keep their customers happy. However, there are several important things for retailers to keep in mind. They must keep their inventory up to date, centralize orders, work with suppliers, and communicate with customers. All of this can be very difficult to do unless retailers have an all-in-one system. i95Dev will implement a hassle-free endless aisle strategy that supports a retailer’s e-commerce ecosystem. With i95Dev helping out, retailers won’t have to worry about the potential pitfalls of an endless aisle and they can enjoy the benefits instead.

Contact us today to discuss endless aisle possibilities for your business.

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How to Optimize Inventory with Endless Aisle