November 4, 2004, 12:00 AM

Bombay relaunches web sites with features for sparking holiday sales

Following year-to-year declines in total sales for its first three quarters, home furnishings retailer Bombay Co. is looking to the holiday season for a spike in sales partly driven by new features like a wish list on its redesigned web sites, it says.

Following year-over-year declines in overall sales for its first three quarters, home furnishings retailer Bombay Co. is looking to the holiday season for a spike in sales partly driven by new features on its redesigned web sites, Stacey Gross, director of Internet operations, tells Internet Retailer.

Bombay’s web sales are expected to reach about $23 million for all of 2004, up 35% from $17 million last year, Gross says. In contrast, total revenue for the first three quarters ended Oct. 30 is down 3% to $372.5 million, while same-store sales are down 15%. Bombay says total revenue for the third quarter declined 4% to $42.7 million.

Bombay relaunched on Sept. 17 its three retail web sites-Bombaycompany.com, BombayKids.com and BombayOutlet.com-on an e-commerce platform provided by the Amazon Services Inc. unit of Amazon.com Inc. Although Bombay has yet to implement all of the features that Amazon is making available, such as one-click shopping, it pushed forward features intended to help spark holiday sales, Gross says.

A new wish list, for instance, is due to go live early this month on its main site and BombayKids. “Now when grandparents are shopping for their grandchildren on BombayKids, they can see what their grandchildren have said they like,” Gross says.

And if Grandma and Grandpa have a lot of grandchildren, Bombay is making ordering easier with a new multiple-address ordering feature. “Now you can send three different products to three different people, all in one order,” Gross says.

Bombay is already seeing improved conversion rates with its redesigned sites, Gross says. And holiday sales are already picking up online as well as in stores, the company says.

"We have been pleased with the early response to our Christmas merchandise,” says chairman and CEO James D. Carreker. “Plans are to continue to invest in advertising during the month to drive early holiday shopping and maximize our margin opportunity. We are expecting demand to improve as gift giving becomes the customers` focus."

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