September 4, 2003, 12:00 AM

Bombay will launch cross-channel rebranding effort this fall

Web site changes will tighten cross-channel marketing integration and reflect Bombay’s new, “lighter” look and feel. The new look will be supported by both the web site and e-mail marketing.

The Bombay Company is repositioning itself from its strictly traditional look and feel for more mainstream appeal, and changes to its web site will be part of a cross-channel re-branding initiative the furniture and accessory retailer will start rolling out in the next month, Matt Corey, vice president of e-commerce, tells Internet Retailer.

“Bombay is going lighter,” says Corey, with plans to expand its assortment to include a broader variety of styles and looks. “Instead of eight gold mirrors, for example, we might have gold mirrors plus silver and wrought iron ones.” The expanded assortment will be merchandised in stores along lifestyle lines, with Bombay planning to open some new, larger stores in off-mall locations that will allow it to better present room settings. The photography on the web site and catalog going forward will be styled to support the lifestyle concept, and upcoming refinements on the web site will further tighten the cross channel integration among store, web and catalog channels that began some 18 months ago, Corey says.

“People have gotten used to the idea of going to a large, open lifestyle store that makes it easy, where they can drive right up to within 20 feet of the door and walk in rather than parking at a mall, walking a quarter of a mile, and then having to find the store,” he says. “The web site and everything we do from an e-mail marketing perspective is going to reflect that.” On the web site, that will mean a heightened emphasis on cross-channel shopping, such as making links to a store locator more prominent on product pages, and ensuring that the return policy, including directions on store returns for online purchases, is clearly featured.

Corey says that if three to four people out of 100 who come to the site actually buy on the site, that`s in line with industry conversion averages. “So the other 96 or 97 are still coming to the site with a need. What we want to do is give them all the information they could possibly need so they can make their buying decisions in any channel they want to,” he says.

Corey adds that in the last year or so, Bombay has adjusted its e-commerce strategy away from being a stand-alone effort. “We’ll continue to grow online sales as a percentage of total sales,” he says. “But the web is also a great marketing tool that drives people to the stores and lets them research 24/7. So we’re moving from what was a single channel approach to a fully integrated retail experience.”

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