How Carter’s Dominated Their Segment of the Kids’ Industry


Carter’s baby clothing is having an impressive run. Aided by a secular consumer shift to e-commerce, the company’s online sales grew 24% in 2016.  The company was ranked 113 on the list of Internet Retailer’s Top 500 and they are well on their way to fulfilling their Billion Dollar Growth Plan. The company, who has over 1,000 North American stores, currently commands 17% of the U.S. baby and infant market. With an aggressive expansion plan worldwide, the company is already operating an additional 750 stores outside of North America. And they haven’t even broken into China yet. This estimated $12 billion market – 40,000 children are both there every day – could be their biggest yet.


We took a deeper dive into what Carter’s is doing to dominate their industry. It turns out the key to their success is one you can apply to your small business as well.

First, they run an incredibly smooth e-commerce experience. A customer can order from their site like any e-commerce operation. But then, after purchase, Carter’s lets the customer know they have the choice to pick up their item at the nearest store. It’s working. 10% of online orders were picked up in stores last year. And of those shoppers, many are also making additional purchases once they’ve walked through the doors. 30%, in fact. This frankly genius strategy gets customers in the door having already spent money with the company, which has built loyalty and that “while I’m here…” mentality we know is integral to repeat purchasing.

In a retail climate where stores are struggling to get people in the doors, Carter’s has made it easier to shop online while also giving people a reason to walk through their doors. “Retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. are forecast to grow at a fast pace in the coming years, going from $396.7 billion USD in 2016… to just over $684 billion in 2020” reports Statisa. A focus on e-commerce is a must for nearly any company.


When looking at their e-commerce model, Carter’s checks off all the boxes:

  • Clear and concise online presence
  • simple and reliable fulfillment plan
  • strong online marketing presence
  • specialization in the their industry
  • personalization for their customers


Additionally, one of the most important upcoming trends in the online marketplace is mobile commerce (m-commerce). Carter’s also has this down to a science. An important part of any cohesive online strategy, shopping should be easily accessed from an iPhone, android, iPad, laptop or any other digital tool.

The companies who look to Carter’s continued success and check all the same boxes will be the ones at the forefront of the growing e-commerce landscape.