Not everyone is hurtling head first into ecommerce. Look at CEO Carol Meyrowitz, who leads the retail chain that includes TJ Maxx and Marshall's and said during her fourth-quarter conference call that "Ecommerce is clearly in our future. We continue to see ecommerce as a major opportunity for TJX. We see it as a marriage between our stores and the Web." She said the ecommerce team is in place, and it'll provide the chance to carry categories TJX can't in stores. But she also made it clear she's not racing to catch up online:
"The more we learn, the more convinced we are of the huge opportunity ecommerce can be for us. That said, we'll take our time, and we'll do it right. We're not ready to talk timing yet, and we will have more to say as we move through the year."
Analysts on the call wanted more, though. Two asked for more details, and why ecommerce wouldn't have an impact in 2012, since the team's been in place. Meyrowitz described it as a "tremendous opportunity" but within the context of TJX's "three-year model." She promised more details when TJX had its "ducks in a row." As the second question came in asking for more about ecommerce, Meyrowitz said:
"Okay. You guys keep asking me about ecommerce, and I'm going to say it 9 million times, we know all the opportunities, and we know how many people come to our website. And I guarantee we will do it right. But as always, we want to do things planning in a conservative way, putting in most of our cost factors certainly from what we can see and doing it right. The reason we look long-term and see it as just a tremendous vehicle is just that leveraging of the platform and the opportunity to even sell product that we don't have in our stores today, to sell product that we have in our stores today. So we will get there, and we will do it in the right way."
The pressure is on CEOs to use ecommerce to drive new sales. CEOs like Meyrowitz are also feeling the pressure to do ecommerce in a way that complements stores and offers something relevant to the online market. She can't just take Amazon, Target.com, and Walmart.com head on with a me-too website.