3/15/06

REI.com expands its store pickup program

To spur more multi-channel sales, REI now is letting shoppers order a bicycle online and pick it up fully assembled at one of 70 store locations. The retailer also is using RSS to advertise daily online deals.

Bill Briggs , Senior Editor

Recreational Equipment Inc. recently introduced several new e-commerce enhancements all tied to a common theme: increasing multi-channel sales.

REI.com shoppers, for instance, now can order a bicycle online and pick it up fully assembled at one of REI’s more than 70 store locations. Customers enjoy the new option because they can order from a wider selection of bikes at REI.com, save on shipping and receive a coupon for a free tune-up when the bike is picked up at a store, the company says. “Extending the buy online and pick up in store program to include bikes is resulting in more incremental sales of items such as helmets,” a company spokesman says.

REI, No. 66 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, also is joining the growing ranks of retailers using really simple syndication as a marketing tool. RSS is a data feed to which individuals can subscribe, most often for free, to receive routinely updated information from a web site. REI is using RSS to drive traffic to REI-Outlet.com, a discount sister site where shoppers can find daily deals on discontinued merchandise at up to 60% off the regular price. “RSS is a good way to get the word out on our deal of the day at REI-Outlet.com, the spokesman says.

REI is enhancing REI.com with new features as a way to drive total sales, which hit a record $1 billion in 2005, up from 2004 sales of $887 million, an increase of 15%. “We’re focused on integration,” the spokesman says. “The web is doing a good job of driving traffic to stores, which heavily promote our e-commerce channel.”

In 2005 REI posted web sales of $140 million, a 26% increase from 2004 when e-commerce sales totaled $111 million.

Topics:

Commerce, Online shopping, REI, Web applications, World Wide Web

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