July 21, 2005, 12:00 AM

Linens ‘n Things expands its store pickup program

Linens ‘n Things is making systems adjustments and e-mail marketing changes to implement a more effective buy online and pickup in-store program.

To better expand the synergy between its bricks-and-mortar locations and its web site, Linens ‘n Things Inc. is making adjustments to its buy-online, pickup-in-store program.

Linens ‘n Things offers customers the ability to shop online, then pickup their merchandise in any of the more than 400 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

But Linens ‘n Things is making improvements to its program by putting in place a better back-end reporting system. Specifically, Linens ‘n Things is working with its third-party platform provider, GSI Commerce Inc., to better integrate various product and inventory management databases to cut down on the chance that particular SKUs may be out of stock or on back order.

Linens ‘n Things handles fulfillment for in-store pickup orders directly through its network of stores. Other online orders are processed and shipped through a GSI Commerce facility in Kentucky. Prior to using GSI, if a customer ordered an item online that wasn`t available in any of the stores, the retailer was forced to cancel the in-store pickup order or inform her that the merchandise was unavailable. Now, with better integration between its web site, call center and back-end systems, e-commerce and store managers know much more precisely which products are in stock and available for purchase. “This is very critical reporting,” says Kathy Kimple, vice president of guest services and Internet operations for Linens `n Things. “It’s improving our multi-channel performance.”

GSI is also working with Linens ‘n Things to better track the e-mail management portion of its shop-online, pickup-in-store program. For instance, Linens ‘n Things is more closely monitoring how fast customers receive an e-mail confirmation of their store pick-up order. Store managers receive that information, which in turn expedites order tracking and customer service. GSI will also help Linens ‘n Things promote its buy-online, pickup-in-store program in a new series of e-mail marketing campaigns for the upcoming back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.

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