Carter's Latest Tech Investments Are Focused on Fulfillment

Carter's continues to see e-commerce demand for its products soar, and the children's apparel giant is investing heavily to ensure it is able to meet rising digital demand now and in the future. In Q3 2016, digital comp sales increased 25%, and e-commerce represented nearly a quarter of all Carter's sales, highlighting the need to invest in the technological firepower to ensure the brand is able to continue to keep pace with demand.

Carter's quietly rolled out buy online ship to store earlier this year, and the program has been a rousing success, both from an engagement and financial perspective. The retailer estimates that around 10% of its shoppers are taking part in the program, and a third of them are making additional purchases in-store when they come in to pick up their orders.

To complement the buy online ship to store option, and to help increase in-store conversion on out-of-stock items, Carter's has upgraded its point of sale system to include save the sale capabilities to ensure shoppers don't walk out the door disappointed without making a purchase.

"We’ve upgraded our point of sales systems," Carter's president Brian Lynch said on a recent earning call with analysts. "We’ve invested in technology in the stores. And one of the things that the guests gave us feedback on is when they are in the store and she can't find her size or color in a beautiful product that she likes, she is frustrated. So we reacted to that with a new point of sales system with software we’ve put in, we're able to go ahead and order that out of the distribution center as part of a transaction, go ahead and ship that to her home. That’s something that we are rolling out across the country."

As the retailer continues to invest in its store systems to meet shopper demand and grow the bottom line, it has also announced a new partnership with Amazon to begin selling its products directly from the e-commerce giant.

"The best-selling brand in newborn apparel on Amazon is Carter's," Carter's CEO Michael Casey said. "We find this interesting, especially because we don't sell to Amazon directly. Over the past year, we’ve been working with Amazon to develop a product offering that provides a better experience for their customers. We will make our initial shipments to Amazon this fall and expect this new relationship to build to a more meaningful level in the years to come."

Under the new partnership Carter's will sell their products wholesale to Amazon and the e-commerce leader will sell and fulfill customer orders. "Our licensees sell to [Amazon] today," Lynch said. "Given the strength of our brands, we do think it's an opportunity to work with them actively and we want to distribute our product where Mom is shopping for young children's apparel, and she is clearly shopping at Amazon."