The future may hold far fewer and radically redesigned stores, analysts say.
Bombay Company, a retailer of home furnishings through stores, catalogs and online, is increasing the role its retail web sites play in supporting multi-channel sales.
Bombay Company, a retailer of home furnishings through stores, catalogs and Bombayco.com, is increasing the role its web site plays in supporting multi-channel sales, the company tells InternetRetailer.com. "We see the web as the channel that can drive sales across all channels," says Matt Corey, vice president of e-commerce.
Corey says the company`s retail web sites currently display the company`s entire line of products, including home furnishings for children sold through its new BombayKids line. "We want to make sure that the web experience mirrors what`s in our stores," he says. The company operates more than 420 Bombay stores and publishes 10 Bombay catalogs, plus a separate web site at BombayKids.com and three BombayKids catalogs. It plans to expand its number of BombayKids stores from six to 100 in three years.
Eventually, Bombay will expand its online display of products to include those not yet available for delivery or store pick-up, Corey says. "Once a product`s on a boat in China, I want to list it on the web," he says. "There`s no reason we can`t pre-sell products, like the example of Potter book pre-sales on Amazon.com." He adds that Bombay will also e-mail promotional messages to customers to let them know of incoming products.
In addition to a recent test of e-mailed promotions of catalogs and Sunday newspaper advertising inserts that resulted in increased online sales, other multi-channel strategies Bombay is considering include store pick-up of products ordered online, and in-store access to its web site to let salespeople and perhaps customers check if out-of-stock products are available online or in other stores, Corey says.