The Reject Shop trials e-commerce in online presence expansion

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The Reject Shop trials e-commerce in online presence expansion

Will also introduce machine-learning based rostering.

Australian discount chain The Reject Shop is set to rebuild its online presence as part of a trial to drive growth and meet changing consumer expectations.

The Reject Shop relaunched its website yesterday, which currently serves as more of a virtual shopping list where customers can view items stocked by the company and add them to a list for reference when shopping in-store.

It lacks any ability to check stock availability at any of the chain’s 354 stores or to purchase items online, which is in accordance with the ASX-listed company’s no-frills branding.

“Currently, our online presence is very small as you can see from our website,” chief financial officer Clinton Cahn said during the company’s full-year results briefing on Wednesday.

But Cahn said the new site will serve as the foundation for a move into online shopping to support The Reject Shop’s expansion into suburban and regional markets, which it views as both untapped potential and a more stable retail environment given the lower incidence of coronavirus outside of metropolitan areas that affected trade during the crucial Easter trading period.

The planned move to e-commerce comes after the company booked $820.6 million in sales for the year, up 3.4 percent on the prior corresponding period.

Net profit after tax for FY20 was $2.7 million, up from a $16.9 million loss in the previous financial year.

These figures reflect a strategic shift at The Reject Shop with a “focus on fixing the business,” which has focused on improvements to stock management, supply chain, staffing levels and a restructure of the company’s head office.

“That being said, we’re running a trial [with the new site] at a couple of our stores with delivery, so it’s certainly something we’re focusing on even as we’re in the middle of a turnaround. We’re focused on our store network, our head office, our supply chain, and online is on the list as well," Cahn said.

Rostering

The Reject’s Shop’s chief operating officer Dani Aquilina also revealed during the briefing that the company will be moving to a new, machine-learning based rostering system to optimise efficiency and increase engagement between staff engagement with customers.

“We are moving from over 350 stores managing and creating their own rosters to a centralised, machine learning rostering system," he said.

The upgrade is set to be completed by October, and will help the company lower the cost of staff wages in relation to the number of sales made.

“Not only will our new system provide rostering efficiencies, it will ensure our team members are in the right place at the right time to support our customers’ needs," he added.

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