Marshalls has everything from designer pieces to cute living room decor to nifty kitchen gadgets, but it's one of those rare stores you actually have to drive to to shop. Well, not for long. Marshalls will have an online store starting 2019, letting you get your bargain basement fix from the comfort of your own couch.
According to People, in a fourth quarter earnings conference call on March 6, TJX Companies CEO, Ernie Herrman, shared that the store is planning to venture into e-commerce. The exact date when the online store will launch is still to be determined, but the company is aiming for the end of the year. So you can be sure to get some of your holiday gifts online, without battling the rest of the discount shoppers.
But having the online store doesn't mean that Marshalls will have less shoppers in its brick-and-mortar locations. Just like its sister store TJ Maxx, the selection online will be different to what you can shop on location. TJ Maxx launched its own website in 2013, and while it sells all the same categories it does in its stores, the selection is different.
“We have learned a lot from TJMaxx.com,” Herrman said in the call. “We really believe it drives incremental store traffic given large percentage of returns online is in stores. It is going to encourage cross-shopping. That has worked really well for us.”
While the company isn't necessarily hoping that you return everything that you buy online, the return process still gets shoppers into the door. And even though you're in Marshalls to give back the desk lamp that didn't end up fitting with your decor, you can still snap up a pair of booties on your way to the cash register.
According to Business Insider, the reason off-price retailers like Marshalls and TJ Maxx haven't joined the online experience is because they offer a treasure hunt approach to shopping. People like to rummage through shelves and pick through racks to find their scores, and that is difficult to replicate online.
In fact, many analysts believe the reason that bargain basement retailers are so successful is because they haven't thrown their hat into the online ring. That way they don't have to compete with big-box companies like Amazon.
“If you’re a company that competes very heavily with Amazon, there is no option,” Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, an analyst with Forrester Research, told Time. “But if you have unique products or you’re focused on your stores, you can afford to be a holdout.”
And it works. These off-price stores make more money than Gucci. Literally. According to The Fashion Law, the McKinsey Global Fashion Index shows that in 2017 the TJX companies brought in $36 billion per year. That is compared to Gucci's parent company Kering, which brought in $7.6 billion.
This is probably partly why both TJ Maxx and Marshalls will still offer a different selection online than they do in stores. The companies still want shoppers to be curious what deals they can dig up while on location. And we shoppers are only too happy to have double the options.