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CSA Exclusive: Bed Bath & Beyond’s omnichannel transformation

Bed Bath & Beyond is making a major push into the omnichannel commerce space as part of its turnaround strategy. 

Chain Store Age spoke with Rafeh Masood, executive VP and chief digital officer of Bed Bath & Beyond, about retailer’s efforts to evolve itself into a leading-edge omnichannel retailer. Masood, who joined the company in May 2020, is driving its digital transformation efforts. And his efforts are bearing fruit. Bed Bath & Beyond reported 94% growth in digital comp sales and 2.2 million new digital customers during its most recent quarter.

“Early this year, Bed Bath & Beyond made a bold pivot from being a laggard in the omnichannel space to embracing omnichannel,” said Masood. “We went from being a multichannel to an omnichannel enterprise. Our stores serve as a strategic omnichannel asset.”

Before launching its omnichannel initiative in May 2020, Bed Bath & Beyond had operated its $2 billion annual e-commerce business as a separate function. The retailer began its transformation by launching curbside pickup early in the COVID-19 pandemic as it shuttered most stores across its banners. It added buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) as stores began reopening.

Bed Bath & Beyond, which had been developing both curbside pickup and BOPIS in early 2020 before the COVID-19 crisis began, also performed an end-to-end customer experience audit shortly after Masood joined.

“We identified 100 customer experience improvements, including reducing the number of steps needed to check out from seven to three and creating a new, mobile-optimized framework,” he explained. “More than half of our digital traffic is mobile. We overhauled the look and feel of our consumer app to let customers have an easier time taking advantage of BOPIS. Shoppers can check in for curbside pickup when they arrive at a store. We overhauled our product discovery, which is powered by machine learning, improving relevancy of search results, making it even easier to shop on our sites."
In September, the retailer introduced same-day delivery chainwide via a variety of options. Customers can place same-day delivery orders on the Shipt and Instacart marketplaces, as well as directly through the Bed Bath & Beyond website.

“Shipt supports our direct same-day delivery operation behind the scenes,” said Masood. “Customers can place orders for same-day delivery by 1 p.m. local time. Stores fulfill same-day delivery, BOPIS and curbside orders, as well as one-third of online orders. The rest of our online orders are fulfilled at our distribution centers. We’ve put a lot of work into enabling store fulfillment and implemented technology to expose site inventory online.”

As part of its omnichannel fulfillment efforts, Bed Bath & Beyond has introduced in-store mobile apps that enable store associates to pick and pack and ship omnichannel orders from store inventory. 

On the consumer app for its BuyBuy Baby banner, Bed Bath & Beyond has introduced an omnichannel nursery design and shopping experience. Launched in partnership with Bed Bath & Beyond’s Decorist online interior design banner, the “Design Squad” service includes omnichannel features such as “Shop the Room” - a predesigned collection of 35 online nursery designs customers can shop or add to their registry, as well as custom virtual room design. 

To support its overall transformation strategy, Bed Bath & Beyond established a digital-first, agile, creative customer experience organization. Product teams and engineering teams work together developing customer service capabilities. The company has also rolled out new order management functionality and is considering upgrading its supply chain technology.

“In 2021, we will double down on our omnichannel capacity,” concluded Masood. “We have a three-pronged technology strategy – elevate customer experience, develop our omni-capabilities, and unlock our potential with a digital-first mindset.”

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