Endless aisle doesn’t come with endless resources

by | Sep 19, 2017

When it comes to the filling the Endless Aisle, Amazon has pretty much ruined the curve for other retailers who want to fill their online presence with inventory, while Walmart is trying its own tactics to expand it’s already considerable product catalog. With SKU libraries numbering in the millions, it’s hard to beat the endless aisle options these two retail giants offer.

That doesn’t mean smaller retailers can’t offer a broader or deeper array of products to their customers to increase wallet share by providing a more complete basket experience.

Powering the endless aisle

It’s incredibly hard to do it on your own, though. You have to do the product research, track down a supplier, find out how to contact them, negotiate what’s needed to set up as a trading partner, collect necessary product information, calibrate EDI, test it and roll it out – a process that can take months or, in extreme cases, years. Once the whole process is done, you could find after all that effort, the trading partner couldn’t fulfill your requirements and the whole exercise was for naught.

With the right industry expert, it could be a completely different story. The resources you need to add as many SKUs and qualified trading partners as you can handle could be right at your fingertips.

With 1200+ retail enablement experts and a suite of solutions, SPS Commerce provides the fastest and most cost-effective way to drive speed-to-market.

  • Source: The SPS Sourcing solution helps retailers find new products and quickly connect to the vendors who supply them. You can specify vendors based on certain capabilities, such as being able to handle drop shipping. Drop ship capable vendors can help you add more items to your e-commerce offerings, without having to store the items yourself in your warehouse. You can also use our Retail Community to find new product ideas and recommendations, as well as share any thoughts about particular issues you might face.
  • Item Setup: Assortment, the SPS item and content management solution, assist with new item setup in retailer order management systems and e-commerce websites. We help suppliers upload their product list, and all related details and assets, into their retailers’ inventory systems, which can then be pushed out to the e-commerce websites. With inventory visibility, retailers can control the customer experience to ensure the supplier indeed has inventory available to fulfill otherwise, it triggers them to pull the product off the website to prevent a bad customer experience.
  • EDI: At the foundation of an endless aisle is an electronic data interchange (EDI). EDI can be web-based or integrated directly into your ERP, enabling retailers and suppliers to seamlessly, accurately and instantly exchange vital business documents such as purchase orders, invoices, advanced ship notices and more. In addition to helping with tracking orders, EDI also speeds up the time it takes to add new products from suppliers to your system. When you connect with Fulfillment (EDI) from SPS, you gain access to a network of potential retail and vendor trading partners – over 70,000 businesses in more than 60 countries around the world.
  • Measure: Analytics helps to identify the trends that power an endless aisle and gain inventory visibility. How well is your endless aisle performing? How is your fulfillment process performing? You need to pay close attention to your product performance, both on the retail and the e-commerce fronts. SPS can show you how to drill down into your data to identify sales trends and problems. You can see if a particular product is selling well in one part of the country and shift your resources to that area. This is even important if you’re shipping from several different distribution centers or are using your retail stores to handle e-commerce fulfillment.
  • Vendor onboarding and compliance: It’s one things to find the vendors you need, it’s something else entirely to be able to swiftly onboard them. With traditional trading partner onboarding, we’ve found it can take an average of 13 phone calls and email exchanges just to get in contact with the right person to onboard just a single vendor, let alone bring them to compliance. SPS Commerce has an army of 1200+ experts that can be deployed instantly to bring your vendors into a new state of capability – removing technology as a barrier.

The days of sourcing products at conferences, dealing with spreadsheets reformatted for each retailer’s unique enterprise inventory system, multiple vendor portals and managing omnichannel sales with incomplete inventory information are all gone. SPS Commerce provides turnkey solutions to help retailers, suppliers and third-party logistics providers to easily communicate, share data and information, and extend their nearly-endless aisle as far as they can. Even with limited resources, companies can extend their resources to keep the products flowing and their customers happy.

SPS Commerce helps Puritan’s Pride expand its product assortment by 25% and grow its e-commerce business. Download the Sourcing case study to learn more.

Joining 70,000 other trading partners from more than 60 countries on the SPS Retail Network could help your company expand its global reach. Learn how just a one-time connection with SPS can put your business one step away from thousands of potential trading partners around the world.

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Shivani Khanna Stumpf

Director of Product Management at SPS Commerce
Shivani's extensive background in shaping platform business models and her expertise in building networks make her well suited for heading up SPS Commerce’s retail solutions strategies. She is responsible for utilizing cloud technology and graph-based architecture to advance the company’s Retail Business Network for its 65,000 customers. Shivani also directs the ongoing development of mining the $1 trillions of purchase order transactions flowing through the SPS Commerce platform for connected intelligence and insights to drive our customers' business.
Shivani Khanna Stumpf

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