July 27, 2005, 12:00 AM

Linens ‘n Things expands it online gifts registry

Now that its operations are more integrated Linens ‘n Things is expanding its online gift registry and products inventory.

One of the advantages a web retailer obtains by using a third-party platform provider is the ability to implement faster change. A case in point is Linens ‘n Things Inc.

In 2003, Linens ‘n Things, which ranks No. 101 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, selected GSI Commerce Inc. to manage its e-commerce platform, call center and fulfillment operations. Now the relationship is helping Linens ‘n Things expedite its multi-channel program, says Kathy Kimple, vice president of guest services and Internet operations. Specifically, GSI and Linens ‘n Things are making several enhancements to the chain retailer’s gift registry program.

Prior to 2003, Linens ‘n Things didn’t have an online gift registry or a buy-online, pickup-in-store program. “We were running our call center out of an extra room at one of our stores,” Kimple says. Now Linens ‘n Things, which has more than 400 stores in the U.S. and Canada, has both and the retailer is working with GSI to add new programs and variety to its gift registry program.

For instance, because GSI has helped Linens ‘n Things tie together its call center, web operations and fulfillment center, the chain now has a more streamlined gift registry program. Customers can use the registry online at home or at a web-enabled store kiosk to access merchandise and check the couple’s gift registry.

GSI and Linens ‘n Things are now building out the gift registry program to include more options and categories. Recently the gift registry was expanded to include nearly a dozen specific categories such as “gifts for him,” gifts for her” and “top wedding gifts.” A new program that offers a line of easily monogrammed gifts is also being expanded. "Gift registry is critically important to our company," says Kimple. "We do a healthy gift registry business in the stores, but to be competitive, it`s important to have the registry integrated with the online store.”

By outsourcing certain aspects of its e-commerce program and concentrating more on marketing and merchandising initiatives, Linens ‘n Things is able to add products that drive traffic and expand its online inventory of 25,000 SKUs.

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