Today, Kmart is banking on bluelight.com, now being managed from headquarters and operating under a much lower cost structure than a year ago, to become an essential inventory channel to move sharply discounted items rapidly and drive more customers, especially younger ones, to its stores. To brand the bluelight name, the retailer has reintroduced flashing blue lights to flag in-store discounts — a promotion it had discontinued a decade ago. And Kmart has nearly 4,000 online kiosks in its stores so shoppers can search and order items from bluelight.com that they can’t find in the stores.
Hybrid retailers are linking bricks with clicks in many different ways. But operationally, virtually all are improving inventory efficiency so they can expand revenue streams while spreading the cost of systems, operations, and supplier relationships across physical and virtual sales channels.
Jeffrey Rothfeder, email@example.com
Jeffrey Rothfeder writes frequently for strategy+business and other leading business publications. His most recent book is Every Drop for Sale: Our Desperate Battle Over Water in a World About to Run Out (Penguin Putnam Inc., Jeremy P. Tarcher, 2001).