Marshalls will finally take its business online in 2019. The chain will seek to prevent cannibalization of sales by keeping its e-Commerce and brick-and-mortar assortments as different as possible, according to Ernie Herrman, CEO of TJX.
Marshalls’ sister retail chain T.J. Maxx already has a small but growing e-Commerce business. Marshalls will use that site as a blueprint, and the company hopes to drive traffic to physical locations by accepting in-store returns for online orders.
“We have learned a lot from TJMaxx.com,” said Herrman on a call with investors. “We really believe it drives incremental store traffic.”
TJX has been performing well despite its relatively tiny web presence — comparable sales rose 6% in Q4, and grew the same percentage during the full fiscal year that ended February 2, 2019. Net sales grew 9% for the year.
Marshalls isn’t the only retailer that took its time before launching an online site. Another latecomer to the e-Commerce world is Hibbett Sports, which didn’t launch its site until July 2017. The launch followed a weak quarter for the retailer where sales fell 9.2% to $188 million, down from $206.9 million in during the same period in 2016.
Other retailers have been slow to modernize their e-Commerce sites, but the returns have been undeniably strong. Costco only offered grocery delivery through Instacart at a limited selection of store until October 2017, when it launched two-day delivery of non-perishable dry grocery items. The retailer also expanded its Instacart partnership to 376 locations at the time.
Costco recently took the top spot on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, topping Amazon with a score of 83 to 82, according to Fortune. Both the Instacart partnership and Costco’s own online grocery delivery service were cited as reasons for the retailer’s success.