September 28, 2005, 12:00 AM

Getting It Right

(Page 4 of 4)

When Office Depot launched its online channel, it made sure it was already integrated through back-end infrastructure supporting order management and customer service. "We’d made sure all features and functions worked across all channels," Luechtefeld says.

When it launched the consumer version of in 1998, it continued the same policy but tweaked it for retail shoppers. Knowing that consumers like to check Office Depot’s Sunday advertising circulars for promotions, for instance, it makes the same ad circular available on Saturdays. Customers can request e-mail alerts about when the circulars are posted online. "We allow online customers to view the circulars to create a shopping list to take to the stores," Luechtefeld says.

If those same customers choose to stay home and shop online, they have the option of clicking a button in the checkout process to request in-store pickup.

The key to driving sales online as well as in other channels, Luechtefeld says, is to make it clear to customers that they can shop any channel and get the same level of service. "We tried to think of this from the customer’s point of view, because they don’t think of us as three different channels-phone, stores and web," Luechtefeld says. "They think of us as a single brand."

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