With its new online store slated for a grand opening, Payless ShoeSource, Inc. (NYSE: PSS) is hoping that at least some of its future customers put their feet up and let their fingers do the shopping.
America’s largest retail shoe store opened its e-commerce store Wednesday — later perhaps than most — but sounding ready to tackle the inherent difficulties of an online retail operation.
One of the first retail companies in America to recognize that many consumers would rather help themselves rather than have a salesman hover nearby, Payless said its tradition of offering a quick, convenient shopping experience will be enhanced with its online store.
“As the explosion of Internet shopping reaches more and more families, we strongly believe we can maintain our position as the leader in delivering high-quality, fashionable shoes – both online and in-store,” said Payless’ Director of E-Commerce, Rhonda Wells. “Our customers like the shopping experience we provide in-store, so we focused on building an easy-to-use site, supported by excellent customer service.”
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Payless opted to go for experience when it chose the companies it would work with to develop the site. IBM Global Services’ systems integration division was chosen to build and integrate an e-commerce system. The company used its Net.Commerce system, powered by the IBM DB2 Universal Database.
Organic, Inc. was selected to design and implement the user interface and non-commerce features. The six-year old interactive services company aimed at developing synergy between the online store and Payless’ vast brick-and-mortar chain. Payless said that Organic would continue to handle its online media buying, buying and advertising.
Founded in Topeka, Kansas in 1956, Payless went public and became the Volume Shoe Corp. in 1961, merged with May Department Stores in 1979 and spun off to become Payless ShoeSource, Inc. in 1996.
The company operates 4,357 stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada and 213 Parade of Shoes stores as well. In 1998, the company sold 200 million pairs of shoes to 150 million customers and generated $2.62 billion (US$) in revenues.