Jacksonville, FL—Fulfilling what Chairman/CEO Jay Stein told analysts “is the most important thing we’re going to do this year,” Stein Mart Inc. today premiered its long awaited e-commerce site, www.steinmart.com.
While many brick-and-mortar retailers have opened online stores, an off-price retailer, such as Stein Mart, faces a trickier task offering current season, brand name fashion apparel for women and men as well as accessories linens and home décor. Stein Mart’s e-commerce was more than two years in the making.
“We are excited to announce that we are in the e-commerce business and happy to be able to serve our customers who like to shop online,” said Stein. “As we learn more and grow this business, we anticipate that this channel will rapidly become our largest flagship ‘store’.”
The website contains “a significant selection of our brick-and-mortar store merchandise, plus unique online-only offerings” and customers are encouraged to visit the site often since new merchandise categories, such as a limited selection of shoes, will be added over the next several weeks.
Stein Mart has good reason to concentrate on its online business. According to Mark Montagna, analyst at Avondale Partners, in a survey of how retailers stand up to showrooming—where consumers shop in-store then look up merchandise online for lower retail prices—Stein Mart held up better than most retailers, offering a better price on its merchandise than what could be found online.
“Based on a price survey of 150 items at Stein Mart, we conclude it is nearly immune to showrooming,” Montagna said in a report last spring. Montagna had used Google Shopper app in a Stein Mart store to check on 150 items, and he could find a match for only 28 of them. For those 28 items he could find online, Stein Mart had the best price for 21 of them and those items beat the best online price by an average of 24%.