STORES Magazine - October 2008 - (Page 12)

CONSIDER THIS / PRESIDENT’S PAGE Web of Inspiration BY TRACY MULLIN The Voice of Retail Worldwide STORES is published by NRF Enterprises Inc., a subsidiary of National Retail Federation Inc., 325 7th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20004. (202) 783-7971 FAX (202) 737-2849 hile attending’s Annual Summit last month, I wondered if online retailers had begun taking cues from psychologist Edward de Bono, who said, “It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.” What is inherently magnificent about the web is that it offers limitless opportunities for retailers willing to think outside the box. With customers heading online to find better prices or research products before driving across town, it’s no wonder that the web is retail’s silver lining this year. Almost three-fourths of companies surveyed for’s “State of Retailing Online” said that websites were better able than stores to withstand a downturn. As a result, retailers are continuing to invest in the online channel to raise the visibility of their company. When creating its new website, Borders knew that shoppers spent an hour in its stores. In the hopes of recreating that experience online, Borders filled its site with rich content, including author interviews, staff recommendations and cooking demonstrations. The company also created “Magic Shelf” to replicate the store experience of being able to pick up a book and turn it over to read the back. Other retailers are investing in new concepts that will help consumers easily move back and forth between channels. recently launched a “Know Before You Go” feature where customers can determine, almost in real time, if an item is in stock at a nearby store. is boosting the content of its store locator page, adding photos and videos to each store description. When it comes to dazzling online retail experts, few companies had people buzzing as loudly as, an online marketplace for buying and selling handmade merchandise like jewelry, artwork and music. The site features a geo-locator so buyers can search by geographic area. And while searching by color is nothing new online, gives customers the opportunity to search by nearly every shade imaginable. Some new web features require taking a calculated risk. Patagonia introduced a feature that shows customers where they can find out-of-stock merchandise — even if it’s from a competitor. The company determined that the possibility of sending a handful of shoppers to a competitor was worth the customer loyalty it would engender. Gap, which recently combined its brands under one roof on the web, ran the risk of diluting higher-end brands by partnering them with lower-priced goods. But CEO Toby Lenk, who spoke at the Summit, said the biggest traffic beneficiaries of the chain have been Banana Republic and Piper Lime, and that he sees customers aspiring to trade up, not down. While the retail world has no shortage of creativity, channeling it can be a hurdle. As retailers leverage their websites this holiday season to drive store traffic, grow their brands and increase sales, we are likely to see even more creative — and exciting — concepts emerge. W CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, Chairman, President and CEO, J.C. Penney Co. VICE CHAIRMEN Philip L. Francis, Chairman and CEO, PetSmart, Inc. Stephen I. Sadove, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Saks Inc. PRESIDENT & CEO Tracy Mullin SENIOR VICE PRESIDENTS Denise Brasse, Industry Relations Mallory B. Duncan, General Counsel Michael G. Gatti, Communications David Hogan, CIO Carleen C. Kohut, Finance & CFO Steven J. Pfister, Government Relations NRF Divisions Association for Retail Technology Standards EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Richard E. Mader (202) 626-8140 National Council of Chain Restaurants PRESIDENT John R. (Jack) Whipple (202) 626-8183 FAX: (202) 626-8185 Retail Advertising & Marketing Association EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Michael G. Gatti (202) 626-8117 FAX: (202) 737-2849 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Scott Silverman (202) 626-8192 FAX: (202) 626-8191 325 7th Street, NW Suite 1100 Washington, D.C. 20004 All articles published in this magazine represent solely the individual opinions of the writers, and not necessarily those of the National Retail Federation. 12 STORES / OCTOBER 2008 WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - October 2008

STORES Magazine - October 2008
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Force of a Different Collar
What Shoppers Think
Bagging the Competition
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Favorite 50
Sticky Strategies for Retention
Business Intelligence
NRFtech Wrap-up
Warehouse Systems
Selling Tools
Supply Chain
LOEB Retail Letter
Arts Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
Last Laugh

STORES Magazine - October 2008