Boot Barn Steps Up Segmentation, Customer Service Efforts


Beyond reaching out to customers of its strongest footwear category work boots, retail chain Boot Barn is launching a new “country” segment focused on customers who participate in the rugged outdoors on a recreational basis or as an adventure enthusiast but who are not necessarily into a core Western lifestyle. Additionally, Boot Barn has refocused its core Western and fashion merchandise segments for the holiday season.

“The trends in the business now have tended to be more casual,” Jim Conroy, Boot Barn’s president and CEO, told analysts. “For example, we believe some of our lace-up work boot sales without a safety toe have been selling because people are using them for weekend hikes and things of that nature… And we’ve expanded a hiking boot assortment in a good number of our stores.”

Boot Barn is also taking steps to enhance its customer services, to continue growing the penetration of its exclusive brands and to add capabilities to its ecommerce business that saw second quarter sales rise 42 percent with year-over-year increases in both traffic and conversion.

This month, after already adding the ability to fulfill ecommerce orders and same-day delivery from stores, the 266-door retailer intends to add a service that will allow customers to shop from home or via video conferencing with an in-store expert stylist acting as their virtual shopper.

In the second quarter, as overall sales declined 1.4 percent to $184.5 million largely due to lower store traffic, Boot Barn’s exclusive brand penetration increased more than 350 basis points to 24.9 percent. Conroy says the retailer’s private label portfolio, which included Cody James and Shyanne, are not positioned as “inexpensive alternatives to third-party brands.”  Exclusive brand penetration is forecast to increase 200-300 basis points this fiscal year.