On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10x as much as their first purchase. There’s no question that repeat customers are an essential piece of online retail. To stay on the cutting edge in 2019, retailers must move beyond loyalty programs, referrals, and promotions. An extended aisle in e-commerce is the future of customer retention. Walmart, one of the largest retailers worldwide, is proof of this. In 2018, Walmart invested in an extended aisle for their e-commerce website, resulting in over 75 million SKUs by the end of 2018.

An extended aisle is a model of third-party fulfillment where a retailer will source products from a supplier who agrees to fulfill orders directly to customers on behalf of the retailer. This model allows retailers to avoid investing in new inventory and the overhead costs that come with it.

How an Extended Aisle Helps Customer Retention

Customer Demand

If customers are unable to find what you’re looking for, they’ll likely go to a competitor to find it. N Channel reports that, “17% would use their mobile device to make an immediate purchase at a competitor’s site. 37% would buy that item from another online retailer when they get home. 35% would physically go to a different store to buy it.” An extended aisle presents the opportunity to take advantage of buyer intent while increasing conversion rates through complementary products.

Repeat Customer Rates

Customers want and expect brand innovation over time. This means expanding your catalog to launch new products that fit your current offering. According to Bain & Company, “The average repeat customer spends 67% more in their 31st-36th months of their relationship with a business than in months 0-6.” How do you bring customers back 31 months after their purchase? The answer lies beyond typical retargeting and discount codes. An extended aisle gives customers a reason to come back with new inventory for them to select from.

Customer retention is on the forefront of retailers’ minds in 2019. It’s costly to focus solely on acquiring new customers, as the cost of acquiring new customers can be up to 5x more than the cost of keeping your current customer base, as reported by The National Law Review. The first step to extending the aisle for your brand is partnering with third-party fulfillment partners.

Want to learn more about enabling an extended aisle for your retail brand? Fill out the form below to speak with a team member from F13 Works.