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How Orvis Upsells 40 Percent of Reserve-in-Store Orders

Orvis might be America’s oldest mail-order business, but it’s moving into the future with omnichannel shopping features already generating robust incremental revenue.

The retailer of hunting and fishing gear and apparel has been around since 1856 but today it’s catering to the modern consumer by leveraging e-commerce to nudge consumers into one of the 80 stores, both full line and outlet, that it operates across the U.S.

Allocation manager Sam Wyman, who started with Orvis as a replenishment analyst seven years ago, credits the size optimization features within Logility’s Retail Optimization platform with helping the retailer reduce inventory, increase turns and improve profits. Not only that, but Retail Optimization also enables Orvis to better control which stores receive which merchandise. Locations clustered in the Midwest, for example, won’t need as much saltwater fishing gear as stores along the coasts, Wyman shared at Logility’s Velocity conference on Tuesday.

Orvis fulfills some e-commerce orders from its store fleet, a decision that prompted the company to re-evaluate how it incentivizes store employees. At the busiest times of year—during the holidays, for example—Orvis adds workers to cover store stockrooms and box up product for web-based orders so that valuable floor associates aren’t buried in the backroom when they could be converting customers, Wyman noted.

The company also is using e-commerce to drive foot traffic into stores. Wyman said Orvis is experimenting with allowing customers to reserve products online for in-store pick-up—a move it hopes to “morph” into full-fledged click and collect. When customers arrive in store, an associate is prepared to meet them, armed with knowledge of their purchase history and with additional items that complement the reserved product. So far that strategy seems to be working as 40 percent of these reserve-in-store purchases end up with a larger basket size than the shopper originally planned, Wyman noted.

None of this would be possible without the right systems in place. John Trainor, CIO of rent-to-own retailer Aaron’s, says every merchant should be undergoing a digital transformation because “our cheese is being moved whether we know it or not”—referencing the classic 1990s business book.