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The Container Store's cross-channel model: A case study

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This year, has been at the forefront of discussions about one of the retail’s industry’s most pressing issues: organizational structure. Alongside partners in the industry, we’ve focused on answering the question of where all things “digital” should live in the modern retail organization. No longer relegated to a stealth team operating on the fringes of a business, retailers have come to understand how integral their digital services and assets are to the customer’s complete brand experience. The hard part is adjusting the existing retail organization to make those interactions smooth, seamless, even enjoyable – all while keeping the company on track for growth and profitability.

Today we are releasing the first in a series of three case studies to illustrate how different companies are handling this integration. Retailers understand that consumers choose how, where and when they want to interact with different brand touch points – and that if there are gaps, they could lose that customer entirely. But the road to change internally to meet these needs across touch points can be difficult.

Our inaugural case study profiles how The Container Store’s organizational structure has been instrumental in developing the company’s advanced customer-facing and cross-channel capabilities. This follows the recent release of “Organizational Structure for the Future of Retail: The Digital Effect” and the accompanying workbook-style “Self-Assessment Framework” conducted with research partner Okamura Consulting and sponsored by DataStax. As you’ll see, The Container Store’s customer experience approach has produced digital and in-store services that complement and truly bolster one another.

Some of the key takeaways from the case study include:

  • Implementing an organizational structure that is aligned to the company strategy. A “no silos” mentality that ensures that all channels offer the same pricing, products and promotions. The Container Store has something of an advantage here in that they had the foresight to take this approach 12 years ago, but the principle itself of channel “agnosticism” applies universally.
  • Senior leadership alignment and enhanced execution through regular communication and collaboration. This includes set days each month for specific vice president-level meetings to communicate and collaborate.
  • Channel-agnostic structural characteristics. One example is how the marketing and merchandising teams work across all channels and bridge roles, such as the online merchandising director, who reports formally to both the online and merchandising departments.
  • Communication with the customer. Communication before, during and after the transaction is key to a great customer experience and provides insight into evolving customer needs and expectations. This has been instrumental regardless of channel.
  • Significant, ongoing employee training. Ensuring that every employee – including at the store level – thoroughly understands the resources available, from store to web and call center.

Learn much more in the full case study here, and watch for our next case study soon.