Infinite Products or Infinite Problems? Retailers Need a Better Endless Aisle Solution

Amazon recently announced a deal to deliver actual fresh-cut Christmas trees…and with that, we may have arrived at the epitome of endless aisle.

While the success of Amazon Christmas trees is yet to be seen, we do know that endless aisle can be a valuable omnichannel solution for merchants. In a world where competitors are just a click away, the ability to extend your product offerings to an infinite level is extremely appealing.

The reality, however, is that very few companies manage to launch a successful endless aisle program. With greater assortment comes deeper data quality issues, and customers are overwhelmed by inconsistencies and a confusing shopping experience.

There is a better way.In EnterWorks’ new e-book, The Art of Automating Endless Aisle, we discuss a six-step strategy for ensuring an effective endless aisle program. We’re sharing some of our findings below. Be sure to download the e-book here to read about all six steps.

Create a foundation for data quality or risk drowning in a sea of SKUs

According to Forrester, implementing an endless aisle program isn’t easy and requires constant coordination of technology, process, and people. Technology creates a foundation for endless aisle; process brings it to scale; and people bring it to life.

However, downfall of many endless aisle endeavors is inconsistency. Customers balk at inconsistent omnichannel experiences, and companies are paying for it. Aberdeen Group reports that “companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89 percent of their customers, compared to 33 percent for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.”

Beyond causing issues with inventory, fulfillment and pricing, poor data quality can harm consumer trust and further hamper a shopping experience that already borders on overwhelming.

Therefore, your endless aisle offerings must be backed by reliable, up-to-date product information in order to provide the consistent omnichannel experiences that consumers demand.

Product Information Management (PIM) technology is uniquely suited to do just that. PIM with Data Quality enables organizations to centralize, cleanse, merge/match, and standardize product data with survivorship rules – even across millions of SKUs. PIM also helps business users enrich content for each SKU, and provides a way for suppliers and third parties to collaborate seamlessly with their own product details and assets.

Design a program that saves the sale

In an endless aisle program, the goal is to avoid bounce and walkaways. The problem with endless aisle is that it has the potential to do the opposite. Customers can easily become overwhelmed by so many choices, especially if the e-commerce site or in-store technology isn’t intuitive, navigable, or personalized.

Beyond the foundation of PIM, organizations should consider using implementation experts to help put the puzzle pieces together. After all, deploying a successful endless aisle project is not only a science, it’s also an art. The right solution integrator (SI) can help design best-in-class taxonomies, attribution, style guides, and data governance standards that are tailormade for endless aisle.

Is endless aisle right for your business?

Not every omnichannel strategy is right for every retail business, and endless aisle is no exception. But, if it’s something your organization is considering, you’ll need the right technology, processes, and people to ensure a successful implementation.

By partnering with the right implementation experts, you can get your endless aisle program operating quickly without getting bogged down by all the minute details involved in designing a successful solution.

To read more, be sure to download the new e-book, The Art of Automating Endless Aisle.

Kerry Young

Kerry Young

Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.