Mobile endless aisle: a warehouse in your pocket

Blog post author
Ross Malpass
November 16, 2022

One trend we’ve been noticing recently is that customers are becoming a lot less tolerant and much more demanding. Everyone’s aware of all the supply chain issues that retailers are facing, but customers don’t care. They want what they want, and they want it right away, with the minimum of effort. 

If you’re out of stock of what they’re looking for, you’ve probably lost a sale. McKinsey report that 87% of customers will go to a competitor if they can't make an immediate purchase. And they’re not going to waste time asking for help. According to Shopify, 37% of in-store shoppers will not speak to an associate if they can't see the item they’re looking for. 

There’s also a long-term effect: 40% of customers say that if they experience repeated stock issues, they’ll stop coming to the store. If they’ve made a trip to the shop only to come away empty-handed, they’ll feel that they’ve wasted their time, and they won’t want to repeat that experience.  

Bridging the gap with endless aisle 

The good news is that your customer doesn’t necessarily need to acquire the item right away. In many cases, they’ll be perfectly satisfied if they can place an order for it. They’ll wait a couple of days for delivery or pickup, as long as they’ve done the hard part: making a purchase decision and completing a transaction. 

That’s where endless aisle comes in. This allows you to offer your full product range via an in-store kiosk. If an item isn’t available in-store, they can still buy it, and then select delivery or pickup. If it’s in stock at a nearby location, they can collect it right away. 

Customers love this idea. 69% would shop more in stores that offer direct shipping of out-of-stock products, and 56% want to see what's available in nearby stores. Endless aisles can account for up to 10% of a store's total revenue, according to Forrester. 

Instead of losing sales because of stock issues, you could actually be increasing footfall and revenue because customers know they can always get what they want - even if it’s not on the shelf. Thanks to endless aisle, their trip is never a waste of time.  

Even more convenience: go mobile 

However, we’ve been looking at how to make this an even more enjoyable and easier customer experience by eliminating - or at least minimizing - the need to go to a kiosk. When your customer is standing at the shelf, frustrated because you don’t have the jeans they want in the right size and color, they don’t always feel like trying to locate a kiosk and maybe stand in line to place an online order. 

To address this, we’ve developed a version of endless aisle that runs on the customer’s phone. Now they don’t have to go to a kiosk or speak to anyone, they can simply pull out their mobile, order the jeans they want, pay, and go. Transaction complete, happy customer. 

Even better, if they’re not yet ready to make a decision, they can store products in their wish list, and then complete their purchase later, even after they’ve left the store. 

Mobile endless aisle fits perfectly with existing customer behavior. Right now, 17% of customers will immediately use their mobile to make an online purchase from a competitor - right there in your store. That figure increases to over 40% of customers aged under 30. 

So instead of losing sales to a competitor, make it as easy as possible for customers to buy from you, even when you’re low on stock.  

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