While certain approaches to omnichannel retailing will work for some merchants and not others, a few core strategies are emerging. And they just be the saving grace of many bricks-and-mortar retail businesses.

The Limited, H.H. Gregg, Gander Mountain, Wet Seal. These are just a few among the more than 20 retail chains that have gone bankrupt in the past two years. Store closings during the same period number in the thousands. For instance, Macy’s Inc. is closing 100 stores and cutting more than 10,000 jobs, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is shuttering 269 stores worldwide, which will lead 16,000 employees to lose their jobs.

Meanwhile, web leader Amazon.com Inc. is buying up bricks-and-mortar assets (see more on Whole Foods deal announced last week), and opening stores of its own. It’s also growing its market share at a breakneck pace, as the merchant was responsible for nearly four in 10 dollars spent online by U.S. consumers last year.

That helps explain why the most forward-thinking retailers that operate stores are betting big on omnichannel-related strategies that use web assets to drive store traffic. Store-based retailers are also investing in in-store services and technology to offer consumer many types of conveniences that a web-only retailer like Amazon can’t.


While many merchants have differing opinions on the best ways to serve their customers, a just-released Internet Retailer report, Omnichannel Retailing and the Future of Stores, outlines in detail the top 5 strategies that merchants are employing to cater to the cross-channel shopper. It also provides examples of how top e-retailers are adapting each strategy to their needs.

For one, Brian Seewald, vice president of digital at footwear retailer DSW Inc., remembers when the retailer first talked about rolling out buy online pick up in-store two years ago. There was some discussion of putting the online order pickup area toward the back of the store to force shoppers to pass by rows of products to increase the likelihood they would buy something besides the order they were picking up.

That idea ultimately never got beyond the discussion phase because DSW decided it was important to make the pickup process as quick and painless for shoppers as possible.

“We decided as a group of leaders in a boardroom that we want to think customer first and what the customer wants,” he says. “We decided to give them the one thing that they wanted, which was convenience.”

DSW shoppers instead pick up online orders at either the main cash register or, in larger stores, at a specific register in the front of the store designated for online order pickup.


While the potential does exist for DSW to gain some incremental revenue by upselling online shoppers picking up orders in stores, and around 15-20% of those shoppers do wind up buying something else, Seewald says store associates take a low-key approach with online shoppers who show up in stores.

“At the end of the day, our buy online, pick up in store is about providing convenience to the customer, and that was the goal,” he says. “We don’t aggressively upsell them.”

Omnichannel Retail and the Future of Stores includes in-depth interviews with other top chains like Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, Shoe Carnival Inc. and Boot Barn.

It also includes the following:

  • Profiles of the top 30 retail chains, including a qualitative analysis of each one’s omnichannel strategy
  • An exclusive feature story on web-only retailers that are opening stores
  • Charts and data, including one on retail chains’ web sales vs. store sales
  • A consumer survey on how store closures are impacted buying behavior

Click here for more information or to order.