INTERNET RETAILING AWARDS 2014 Award winner House of Fraser
In the wake of the Internet Retailing Awards 2014, we hear from award winner House of Fraser , on how ecommerce and multichannel retailing have developed at the department store since its website was first launched in 2007.Internet Retailing: What do you sell, and how do you sell it?House of Fraser:
House of Fraser is a multichannel department store retailer with 60 stores throughout the UK and Ireland, plus a website, mobile site and app that all deliver to over 120 countries internationally. We also opened a store in Abu Dhabi in 2013, which was the company’s first venture into international stores.
A retailer of thousands of brands, House of Fraser strives to provide a convenient multi-channel experience for customers across stores, website, mobile and app channels.IR: How long have you been in business, and how has your approach to retail changed or developed over that time, and particularly since the advent of digital retailing?HoF:
Founded in 1849 as a small drapery shop on the corner of Argyle Street and Buchanan Street in Glasgow, House of Fraser is a great British heritage brand well-known through the generations. Over the 165 years of trading, House of Fraser has owned 200 stores throughout the UK and has been owned both publicly and privately by the likes of the Al Fayed family.
Later than many of our competitors, House of Fraser first launched a website in late 2007 and benefited from a second mover advantage. Growth has exceeded the industry year after year by improving the selection of products available, increasing the convenience of the proposition, and creating a seamless experience across all channels.
Our first app was launched in 2009 and the first mobile-optimised site followed in 2010 as we became increasingly focused on the multichannel customer experience.IR: Who are your customers, and how has ecommerce enabled you to get to know them better?HoF:
As other internet retailers have, House of Fraser has benefited from the vast amount of feedback available from due to the growth in online shopping. Surveys, web analytics and user testing have enabled us to take a scientific approach to understanding what is important to our customers and how we should prioritise in our development roadmap. We do the things that have the most impact on their satisfaction.
Our customers have a broad age range and we’re often sent memories from customers who shopped as children with their mothers and grandmothers and they continue to shop with us today. We find that despite this wide age base, our customers have a very similar attitude – they want themselves and their homes to look their best and come to us to achieve that.IR: What pleases you about the awards that you were shortlisted for, and the mobile award, which you won? What did that recognise about your business that you're proud of?HoF:
We were thrilled to be shortlisted for several Internet Retailing awards this year, including the Innovation Award, the Omni Award, the Internet Retailing In-Store Award, and even more so to win the Mobile Award.
We’ve made huge strides in all of these areas over the past year or so. It’s always great to be recognised for the hard work we’ve put in to pushing the boundaries and creating the best experiences for our customers. As a traditional department store with a strong heritage, it’s difficult to shake off the fusty image that comes with it, but we’re staying ahead of the game in finding innovative ways that meet and hopefully exceed customer expectations.IR: What's your plan for the future - and what will you be focusing on doing even better?HoF:
House of Fraser is entering an exciting chapter in its history. We hope that this will be our big opportunity to improve the infrastructure that we work on, re-establish our brand, and deliver on our ambitions of developing our multichannel proposition further in the UK and internationally.