More and more, consumers are looking online to buy their vape devices, smoking supplies, and cannabis products.
How can store owners managing a physical store compete?
They need a solution that merges online and physical retail, without hurting their in-store experience.
That solution is the endless aisle.
In this post, we’ll explain what the endless aisle is and how it can help your business increase revenue and reach new customers.
What is an Endless Aisle?
The term endless aisle describes a retail strategy that allows in-store customers to purchase products that are either out of stock or not sold in store.
To sell stocked-out products to in-store customers, retailers work with third-party supplier to ship orders to customers.
In its simplest form, the endless aisle is a 3 step fulfillment process.
- An in-store customer places an order for a product that is out-of-stock or not in the store.
- The retailer sends the order to a third-party supplier who holds inventory for the product.
- The supplier ships the order to the customer’s address or to the retailer for in-store pickup.
From the customer’s perspective, the retailer sold and shipped the item to them.
The third-party supplier has no direct interaction with the customer.
This process is referred to as dropshipping.
To offer an endless aisle to customers, retailers typically utilize in-store kiosks or an ecommerce website.
The retail kiosk presents shoppers with an interactive buying experience that showcases a wide range of products not sold in the store.
Customers use the interactive kiosk to shop in-store, then place an order to be shipped to their home or to the store.
An endless aisle ecommerce website gives customers the option to browse products and place orders on their tablet, smartphone, or mobile device.
With both methods, the shopping experience is often superior to just browsing what’s available on store shelves.
Why Adopt an Endless Aisle?
One of the most common reasons a retailer loses sales is due to out-of-stock items.
Nothing disappoints a customer more than coming into your store and finding the product they’re ready to purchase isn’t there.
Not only does this result in a lost sale, but repeated customer experiences like this can reduce foot traffic in your store and send shoppers to your competitors.
Adopting an endless aisle strategy helps you avoid stock-outs while giving your customers more products to choose from.
Loyal customers are encouraged to come back and shop again when new products are available through your endless aisle.
An endless aisle also attracts new traffic to your store by expanding the number of products and categories you can offer.
Endless Aisle Challenges
Before considering an endless aisle strategy for your retail store, be aware of these common challenges that store owners face.
Accurate Inventory Levels
The primary purpose of the endless aisle strategy is preventing stock-outs, so it’s important for you to know what’s available.
The software solution you choose needs to provide real-time inventory updates across your difference sales channels and retail stores.
Your retail staff needs quick and easy access to see current inventory levels for the endless aisle so they can relay this information to customers.
Ideally, staff members should have access to a dashboard where they can see inventory availability for all products offered in your endless aisle.
The biggest hurdle faced with an endless aisle strategy is managing order fulfillment with the suppliers who dropship for you.
An automated system must be in place that records your purchase order as the retailer, the supplier’s invoice for the order, and tracks fulfillment of the order by the supplier.
This helps maintain a transparent relationship between your and your dropship suppliers.
When you don’t physically hold inventory for the products, this process is too cumbersome to manage manually, which is why an automated solution is recommended.
Customer Order Status Updates
Allowing customers to place an order is only half the battle when it comes to an endless aisle strategy.
Since they won’t be leaving your store with the product in hand, you need to communicate via email or text the status of their order.
Your software must keep your customer informed of the order status from the moment the order is placed through the moment it is delivered to the store or their home address.
Smoke Drop: Your Endless Aisle Retail Technology Partner
As the leading dropship program in the cannabis industry, our team at Smoke Drop offers the technology and expertise needed to successfully implement an endless aisle retail strategy.
Extensive Dropship Catalog
Choose from over 5,000 smoke, vape, and CBD products to include in your endless aisle.
We partner with trusted suppliers in the cannabis industry to provide you and your customers with quality products that ship fast.
Enjoy healthy profit margins at competitive prices that set your store apart.
Real-Time Inventory Updates
Smoke Drop integrates with your POS system and ecommerce platform to keep inventory updated in real-time for all endless aisle products.
You and your customers know what’s in stock to eliminate stock-outs and improve shopping experiences.
Automated Order Fulfillment
The entire dropship order process can be automated with Smoke Drop.
Once your customer places an in-store order for an endless aisle product, it’s automatically forwarded to the appropriate supplier for fulfillment.
When the order is shipped, you and your customer receive notification with tracking information.
Spend less time managing orders and more time focusing on your business.
Adopting an endless aisle strategy is essential for every cannabis retailer to grow their in-store sales.
But, this is not a simple strategy to integrate with your retail locations.
It requires an experienced technology partner, efficient processes, and motivated people to make it successful.
Keeping the challenges mentioned in mind, consider Smoke Drop as your dedicated technology partner for implementing an endless aisle.
We offer the experience, expertise, and solution necessary to avoid stock-outs while increasing in-store sales.
Contact us today for a free consultation and take the first step towards your own endless aisle.