Boot Barn kicks omnichannel efforts into high gear

February 6, 2017 11:37 AM

Western wear retail chain Boot Barn Inc. is equipping store associates with internet-connected tablets to make the offline-to-online shopping experience more seamless.

It’s part of an omnichannel push the company is making called WHIP, short for We Have It, Promise, CEO Jim Conroy told analysts on the retailer’s fiscal third quarter 2017 earnings call. Starting in November, the retailer equipped all of its 212 Boot Barn stores with a pair of tablets that are connected to the internet, one is located near the checkout and another is paired with an associate. The tablets allow shoppers to access the company’s e-commerce inventory while in-store so if something is out of stock, they can still buy it online and have it shipped to the location of their choice.

“The promise of WHIP is to demonstrate our market leadership position to our customers by offering the breadth of our full e-commerce assortment coupled with the service levels of a retail store environment, including experiencing a broad selection of merchandise, speaking with knowledgeable store associates and getting expert advice on product, fit and function,” Conroy told analysts on the call, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. “Utilizing touch-screen devices, customers in our stores can now access millions of items in our e-commerce warehouse inventory, as well as the inventory of our larger third-party vendors.”

Boot Barn, No. 565 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 1000, does not break out online sales in its quarterly earnings reports. On the call, Conroy told analysts that online sales grew by double digits for the fifth consecutive quarter. During the 12 month-period of fiscal Q3 2016 through fiscal Q3 2017, online accounted for 18% of the retailer’s sales, or $111 million, Conroy said.

With online sales growing, the retailer is in the process of upgrading to a new e-commerce platform, which is expected to be done by May.

“Once complete we will be able to combine the fulfillment of and into our e-commerce distribution center in Wichita, Kan.,” Conroy said. “Not only will this allow us to more efficiently fulfill all e-commerce sales in the middle of the country but it will further expand the product available to both the site and our WHIP tablets.”

For the fiscal third quarter ended Dec, 24, Boot Barn reported:

  • Net sales of $199.4 million, up 2.9% from $193.8 million during the same time last year.
  • A year-over-year consolidated same store sales increase of 0.2%.
  • Net income of $10.5 million, up 6.1% from $9.9 million.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2017, Boot Barn reported:

  • Net sales of $466.8 million, up 11.2% from $419.6 million last year.
  • A year-over-year consolidated same store sales increase of 0.7%.
  • Net income of $11.6 million, up 30.3% from $8.9 million.



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