News Feature | March 19, 2014

DSW To Spend $10 Million On Omni-Channel Enhancements In 2014

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By Anna Rose Welch, Director, Cell & Gene Collaborative
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DSW Omni Channel

Company continues to unite channels and boost online, in-store fulfillment services

While shoe retailer DSW saw flat fourth quarter sales, the company still has every intention to increase its store numbers and to boost its omni-channel investments in the future. According to Retailing Today, the company plans to open 35 stores and spend roughly $10 million this year to enhance its omni-channel capabilities.

While DSW did not elaborate specifically on its upcoming omni-channel investments, the company has been hard at work over the past few years planning to up the ante with omni-channel so its shoe shoppers are able to move seamlessly between channels. In December, Retail Info Systems News discussed some of the methods DSW was undertaking in order to break down the barriers between channels. At the tail end of 2013, the store and businesses were operating separately, which was going to require “a significant commitment of resources by our organization,” DSW CEO Michael MacDonald had told analysts. Throughout the last few months of 2013, the company had been working with two consulting firms in order to determine a potential timeline for implementing an omni-channel plan.

One of the most important steps the company has undertaken already is the launch of charge-send capability. According to RIS, the system enables in store fulfillment for online orders and eliminates the barriers between stores so stock can be transferred to whichever store might have the demand. The company also implemented a size optimization system, which MacDonald says “improved our in-stock rate by two percentage points on those items most directly affected by the system.” In an effort to boost customer loyalty, the company has now made all reward certificates electronically accessible at the point-of-sale in all stores. Other initiatives include a new returns management system that enables the company to look up receipts electronically at the POS and mobile POS units for line-busting, product/reward certificate searches, and store/employee monitoring.  

Last January, the company signed on with VendorNet and began using VendorNet’s StoreNet Live tool to improve its fulfillment for online sales. Using VendorNet’s StoreNet’s ship-from store offering, DSW was able to begin using store inventory and personnel to fulfill both brick-and-mortar and online orders and ensure that the company didn’t lose sales if an item is out of stock. SVP of e-commerce and omni-channel initiatives leader Roger Rawlins said that out-of-stock items were “absolutely unacceptable” in a world where the consumer has become more empowered by the options available to them online and in other stores. “We want to offer our customers universal inventory availability which is central to our omni-channel mantra ‘any shoe, anywhere, anytime.’ Deploying StoreNet will be a major milestone in making this mantra a reality,” Rawlins said.

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