What is Endless Aisle and why is it relevant in today’s retail space?

 

When shopping at a retail location, customers are often making spur-of-the-moment decisions when selecting items to add to their cart. If that moment passes due to unfulfilled supply, that customer will almost certainly be heading home to purchase from an online competitor. Those in-the-moment sales are substantial sources of potential revenue that are currently just given up to online competitors by many retailers. Yet, it need not be that way.

 

Endless aisle is a new paradigm in retail that empowers customers to make purchases even when a particular item is out of stock at a given location. Endless aisle meets consumers exactly where they are and with exactly what they want. An endless aisle model enables retail purchases to seamlessly integrate with an order fulfillment and distribution system. Customers can feel confident that should they be unable to find a product in-store, they will still be able to order the product to their home or preferred retail location without having to leave the store. 

 

How does Endless Aisle typically manifest in a retail location?

 

Endless aisle can take several forms at a retail establishment. Each generally has pros and cons to the approach. These forms include:

 

  • The Kiosk Approach - This often takes the form of a kiosk on the floor that is used as a sort of in-store “catalog”. Knowledgeable customers are able to interact with it at their leisure, but it may demand another application or dedicated hardware to maintain, and it isn’t always convenient to customers who may not be as autonomous.

 

  • The At-Checkout Approach - This approach is dissimilar to the kiosk approach as the cashier prompts the customer at checkout if they were unable to find anything they were looking for. At that point, the cashier may offer to order the items to the customer’s house or store. This is the most seamless approach, but not all POS systems support this feature and the cashier may be relying on simply the company’s website, which can be cumbersome and confusing while attempting to also ring a sale. It also relies on the customer utilizing the non-self-checkout or at minimum, already having items they’ve managed to find.

 

  • The In-Aisle Approach - A mix of the two previous approaches. In this approach, attendants proactively assess customers’ needs in-aisle and order items as necessary on dedicated mobile POS devices. This is the most comprehensive system, but may not always be applicable to all retailers. Mobile devices are often difficult and expensive to transition towards, requiring completely new POS software in addition to an endless aisle catalog application.

 

Which form does JumpMind Commerce take?

 

All of them. JumpMind Commerce’s endless aisle integration provides a seamless route from item lookup to order fulfillment, to sale, or to a mix of both. JumpMind Commerce makes it simple to process a sale with back-ordered items, treating them as just another sale item. Order processing for any relevant items can be done at the end of the transaction, allowing customers to pay once for both in-store and ordered items.

 

Easy configuration leads to easy experimentation

 

JumpMind Commerce’s form factor agnosticism gives retailers the tools to implement an endless aisle system right out of the box on any hardware already running JumpMind Commerce. This flexibility lets retailers not feel constrained to select any one of the three approaches above, but instead experiment and enable up to all three approaches as they see fit. As a part of the point of sale, the whole system can easily be configured with the existing product database driving the point of sale itself with little to no integration work. With that in mind, the endless aisle experience becomes simple to tweak and refine to your particular store’s needs. There are no separate cataloging applications to manage, nor hardware-specific requirements to facilitate any endless aisle experience with JumpMind Commerce.

 

Pushing forward in an increasingly online world

 

Endless aisle is expected by consumers in today’s online world. However, the barriers to experimenting with this new way of handling product sales often impede retailers with a complex web of new applications, hardware, and backend systems. JumpMind Commerce shatters these barriers, offering clever flexibility and ease of integration for retailers looking to definitively compete with online marketplaces, allowing a retailer to capture the demand at that moment.

 

 

JJ Starrett
Author: JJ Starrett

JJ started his career with JumpMind in mid-2018 as an intern, and has since joined on as a full-time developer for JumpMind in 2020. Now apart of the JumpMind Commerce team, he largely works on backend development of the Commerce platform with a focus on hardware integration, mobile development, and some front-end work.

While not at work, JJ mostly spends his time out with friends, playing video games, and talking with anyone who will listen about movies.