What’s gone so wrong for the UK high street?
High street shops in the UK are struggling. Some of our best-known brands are under threat or have already folded and Christmas 2019 saw the worst retail performance in 25 years.
The causes of this decline are diverse but include the very high rental costs for shops and the rise of ecommerce and same day/next day delivery. Initiatives such as click and collect have helped, but what can retailers do to drive footfall and revenue back to their bricks and mortar stores? Let’s take a closer look at endless aisle.
What is endless aisle?
Endless aisle refers to retailers being able to extend the selection of products a customer can browse when they are in store to their whole collection - just like their website does. Endless aisle is enabled with the introduction of interactive digital screens situated in store that customers use to browse product ranges and read about new product lines and offers. This allows customers to take advantage of the in-store brand experience, whilst viewing the entire product range that company offers.
What are the benefits of endless aisle technology?
Endless aisle technology means that retailers can bring their online and ‘bricks and mortar’ stores closer together. Customers still benefit from the experience of going to a physical store for their shopping – socialising with friends, being able to touch and feel products (and therefore gauge quality, size and colour) and soak up the brand’s ethos.
Adding AR/VR and 3D to an interactive digital screen will help a customer visualise how a piece of furniture might look in their home or an item of clothing in a different colour could transform a look. You can also upsell using the screen by displaying other items from the same ‘look’, both in terms of clothes and shoes or home furnishings.
Combining endless aisle technology with self-service checkout or allowing hand off to a member of staff for the human touch can both work their magic. It’s worth remembering that some customers, particularly those who fall into older demographics, may actively seek out human interaction during the purchase process, so it’s important to combine technology and traditional customer service models. The perfect customer experience!
What else do brands need to bear in mind if they want to implement endless aisle?
Since the technology relies an effective e-commerce platform, endless aisle needs to be backed up by good warehouse and supply chain management. That means that when a customer finds a product in the ‘endless aisle’ that they want, the screen will display accurate fulfilment information. Any additional technology aimed at improving the customer experience (for example using AR to show customers how a sweater will look on them) needs to be slick and effective.
What to do next if you’re keen to try endless aisle
Meridian Digital Solutions offers both wall-mounted, countertop and freestanding interactive kiosks perfect for delivering endless aisle technology. Retail businesses that link their online presence with their brick and mortar locations with endless aisle will stand the best chance of surviving the latest pressures on the high street. Get in touch today to find out more!