Leveraging endless aisles and incorporating special orders into your retail business will capture lost sales and delight customers — but only if done the right way.
Today’s customers are unforgiving. To fulfill the expectations of the contemporary consumer, retail shops are expected to provide the same convenience, flexibility and breadth and depth of product range as an online shopping experience.
Online stores aren’t confined by the square footage of the shops permitting them to digitally exhibit an infinite number of products, and to do so in a manner that’s easily navigable for their customers. A lot of these customers, however, only go to the online shop to research products that they intend to buy in person.
As a result of this, there’s a gap between expectations and delivery — shoppers expect the exact same inventory available on the internet to be available from the shop. When it isn’t, they move elsewhere.
But it’s not possible to hold inventory for each possible product a customer may want. And even if possible, it would be exceedingly substantial danger: the upfront investment could be enormous without a guaranteed sell-through at a reasonable timeframe.
How do you balance the needs of your clients in a sensible and sustainable manner?
Introducing endless aisles and special orders
You can not physically hold infinite stock — but your providers can. The concept of orders is that you leverage your provider’s’endless’ product range in addition to available stock from the other shops, to provide a much wider array of stock than that which you hold within your shops.
This way you are able to meet and exceed customer expectations with no upfront risk.
Here are a few scenarios to describe how it works.
A customer walks into an outdoor adventure shop thinking of buying a tent. To be competitive, the merchant offers a huge catalog of tents from all brands but can not afford to inventory everything instore.
The customer would like to buy a tent that is on display. A particular order would allow the merchant to take a deposit, arrange the tent direct from the supplier (on behalf of the client ) and then arrange home delivery or in-store pickup once it arrives
A customer visits a bicycle retailer’s online shop and would like to purchase a particular bike in a size or color that’s away from the core range held in stock. If the merchant goes the extra mile to provide the consumer a solution to this problem (special ordering the bicycle from the provider ) they are highly likely to close the purchase. When they don’t, they are almost certain to lose it.
So why are not all retailers doing so?
You probably already recognise this approach: bedding and furniture shops have been using showrooms to market products, which are subsequently sourced from suppliers, for decades. It is a core component of the operating model.
Tapping into specific orders can help retailers in almost any category maximise their earnings potential and provide a better customer experience. The issue, however, is that historically special orders have posed a massive administrative challenge.
That is why so many retail categories don’t consider exceptional orders a realistic choice. The time and effort spent placing purchase orders, monitoring them in the distribution chain and communication with clients — combined with potential mistakes and flaws from doing all this manually dangers a bad customer experience along with a diminished return.
But that is no longer true. Or at least, it does not need to be.
What does success look like?
It’s possible for retailers to successfully present endless aisles and special orders with the ideal compact and automated system.
Processing the sale
The Perfect system will enable your employees to:
- Produce a POS purchase for a product that is not in stock
- Flag Special Orders in the system
- Record key information like’anticipated delivery date’ and’delivery place’
- Automate minimal payment deposit rules and provisions
- Procedure Exceptional Orders and Cash and Carry in the same transaction
When the purchase is complete the ideal system will automatically create a purchase order (PO) to the provider. When the PO is received the system auto creates the inventory transfers straight out to the shops. This provides retailers complete supply chain monitoring: revenue, POs, and transports are connected together.
Purchase orders are also merged within the software system. This permits retailers to meet a supplier’s minimum order value and best pricing, in addition to minimising freight costs.
Supply chain visibility
With all this in place, employees will have the ability to observe all outstanding orders, for example, customer’s and provider’s expected dates.
This removes the requirement for staff to contact head office for updates on inbound special purchase inventory, boosting productivity and optimising labor resources. They will also be better equipped to answer customer upgrade enquiries immediately.
Knowing which orders were sworn to clients and which will need to go on the shelves, staff can streamline the’put away’ process.
Choosing the Ideal system
The ideal POS software system will consist of exceptional orders as an”out of the box” feature which can be readily configured to meet the particular demands of your business. You can concentrate on running your retail performance — not handling a complex IT project.
The Perfect system will provide the following benefits for your company:
- Maximise the earnings on your entire product portfolio without needing to hold stock
- Improve cashflow by accepting deposits prior to paying providers
- Eliminate up to 75 percent of manual management
- Deliver a better customer experience and product range
- Build loyal brand urges
- Reduce stock risk
Special orders help modernise retail companies, extending the electronic experience — where most contemporary customer journeys begin — to the brick-and-mortar store atmosphere.
Undergroundship.com is the one of the projects of ConnectPOS who shapes the future of 2000+ clients worldwide in an omnichannel journey with a leading Retail POS system. We apply cutting-edge technology (AI, Big Data, Real-time Image processing…) to create an optimized retail environment that benefits both sellers and buyers at reasonable costs. Our products are : Magento POS, Shopify POS, Bigcommerce POS.