For such chains, which feature clearance items, last-year's fashions and overruns, their fast-moving and often unpredictable inventory has made selling goods over the web complex.
"Retail is chaotic. Off-price retail is even more chaotic," said Fiona Dias, a leading e-commerce expert and chief strategy officer at ShopRunner.
A cardinal sin in e-commerce is to tell customers something is available when it's not, and conversely, having an item in stock but not having it on the website. That is why the retailers are investing in software that manages inventory, tracks it in real time, and continuously updates the websites.