Woolworths’ high street chain continues to struggle and started this year with declining like-for-like sales. In contrast, the variety retailer’s multi-channel operation is booming. The response of customers to Woolworths’ multi-channel offer and the launch of the Big Red Book catalogue has been positive. Orders exceeded expectations and there was a 204 per cent growth in multi-channel sales over the six-week period to January 13.
Last summer, Woolworths expanded its multi-channel offering with the launch of a new in-store collection service. The ‘Woolworths: You Collect or We Deliver’ service enables customers to have products delivered to a specific store or direct to their home.

Woolworths IT director Tony Godwin says a key objective over the next 12 months will be further enhancing its multi-channel offering through additional server capacity and improved services to fulfil customers’ orders.
This year, the variety retailer also plans to extend its use of SAP’s enterprise platform to warehouse management software, to try to improve how it tracks stock in its distribution centre.

Another goal for 2007 is to smarten up the way it uses data across multiple channels. “We plan to review our current information provision – both corporate and ad hoc – with the aim of improving the quality, what’s available at what level and ensuring we have a more rigorous and standardised approach,” says Godwin.