July 15, 2013, 2:38 PM

Loehmann’s targets 55% growth in online sales

Two years after emerging from bankruptcy, sales are surging at its e-commerce site.

Lead Photo

Bill Thayer, chief operating officer, Loehmann's

When apparel retail chain Loehmann’s Inc. emerged from bankruptcy in 2011, one of its first actions was to launch its first e-commerce site. It was a good move. Sales for the site’s first fiscal year hit $11 million. They are on course to reach $17 million in the current fiscal year, which runs through January 2014, chief operating officer Bill Thayer says.

Loehmann’s operates 40 stores across the United States. And Loehmanns.com, which launched in November 2011, is quickly becoming one of the off-price retailer’s largest selling outlets. “In 2012, the web produced sales on par with our No. 10 store,” Thayer says. “Now it’s producing sales as good as our No. 6 store, and will probably be No. 3 or 4 by the end of this year.”

The retailer of apparel and accessories launched its e-commerce site on an Internet-hosted, software-as-a-service, or SaaS, technology platform from ShopVisible. SaaS technology enables the retailer to access ShopVisible’s technology over the web, without having to deploy its own e-commerce data center.

The e-commerce site, which took about five months to launch, was designed in several ways to drive fast growth in web sales, Thayer says. To target marketing based on customer shopping records online and in stores, for example, the ShopVisible platform integrates with the retail chain’s customer relationship management system from SHCDirect. It also integrates with the retailer’s gift card program from Ceridian Stored Value Systems, enabling Loehmann’s to sell and process gift cards on the e-commerce site, Thayer says.

With up to 150 new products added daily to its web site, Loehmann’s also integrated the ShopVisible e-commerce platform with its merchandise planning system from MID Retail Inc. and its Loehmann’s in-house inventory database. That enables Loehmanns.com to show accurate availability of inventory as the retailer’s merchandise buyers introduce new products and as online and store sales deplete inventory stocks.

The system’s ability to show real-time updates of available stock has paid off particularly well when Loehmann’s realizes it has extra stock that it wants to move quickly in a special flash-sale promotion. That happened last spring during the peak wedding season. “In a one-week bridal sale, we sold 71 bridal gowns at $500 each,” Thayer says.

ShopVisible typically costs from “high five figures” to "well into six figures," says ShopVisible CEO Sean Cook. Client companies also pay a monthly subscription fee based on the volume of transactions and the scope of the deployment, he says, declining to specify a range of monthly fees.

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