News & Trends

How TJX got smart about omni-channel strategy with the acquisition of Sierra Trading Post

Posted by: David Jamieson David Jamieson
on September 22, 2016

Modern day retail is a classic yin and yang. The yin of brick-and-mortar stores is interwoven with the yang of online shopping. Together, these two complementary components create the omni-channel retail shopping experience.

When I look out onto the retail landscape, one retailer’s omni-channel strategy stands out: TJX Companies, the owners of flagship T.J. Maxx, as well as Marshalls, HomeGoods, and Sierra Trading Post. TJX Companies operates hundreds of stores throughout the United States and its brands have very loyal customer bases. For years, TJX Companies focused on bricks-and-mortar stores, but had a limited online presence. That’s changing, however.

I want to talk a bit about that last brand – Sierra Trading Post – to better illustrate the idea of how retailers are gaining intelligence and enhancing the modern omni-channel strategy to boost overall sales.

The powerhouse outdoor online retailer

When TJX Companies bought Sierra Trading Post in 2012, it was known as an online, discount sporting goods retailer. It had only four physical stores, all of which were west of the Mississippi River. Both then and now, it has been immensely successful. Sierra Trading Post remains a very popular brand, and now it’s a brand in transition.

After opening three stores in Colorado a few years ago, TJX Companies developed a strategy that adds to Sierra Trading Post’s physical footprint by expanding its presence across the country with new brick-and-mortar stores. The first store east of Wyoming opened in Burlington, Vermont in November of last year. And TJX Companies has ambitious plans to grow the brand throughout the Midwest and along the East Coast.

“We are pretty bullish on the Sierra Trading Post business longer-term,” said Ernie Herrman, chief executive officer, president, and director of TJX Cos. during the company’s Q1 earnings call.

Sierra Trading Post has a loyal online shopping base. The retailer receives more visitors to its website than all other brands owned by TJX Companies combined. That brand loyalty means Sierra Trading Post remains the online sporting goods retailer of choice for many customers. The brand can also be a conduit and funnel traffic to the other TJX brands’ websites. The goal here is to boost sales across the company through better online integration and a more robust physical store presence.

Why some retailers embrace the omni-channel shift

A strong omni-channel strategy is the focus of most retailers today. Engaging with customers and capturing sales, no matter the source, means brick-and-mortar stores complement online sales, and vice versa.

TJX Companies certainly isn’t alone in this approach, Amazon is doing the same thing as it grows its physical store footprint, while Wal-Mart recently purchased Jet.com. TJX’s purchase of Sierra Trading Post represents a great case study for building a strong omni-channel strategy both organically and through wise acquisitions and investments.

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