Halfords is selling more products online – and more than eight in 10 those purchases are now picked up in stores. It’s an example of a multichannel strategy that gives shoppers a reason to come into its shops. The automotive-to-cycling equipment and repairs business, a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research, offers customers a range of in-store services, from fitting car parts to building and repairing bicycles, designed to make their lives easier.
Halfords said today that its online sales grew by 11.3% in the opening 20 weeks of its financial year, to August 17, when 85% of products that were ordered over the internet were picked up in its stores. At the same time retail revenues grew by 2.6%, autocentres revenue by 3.9%, and overall Halfords Group turnover by 2.7%, or 2.8% on a like-for-like basis that strips out the effect of store openings and closures (retail +2.6%).
Chief executive Graham Stapleton said he was pleased with trading performance in a “challenging retail environment”. He said: “In retail, sales growth was supported by fitting services, new ranges of workshop and car cleaning products and electric bikes. In auto centres, we continued to build momentum on our transformation plan.”
The retailer said staycations and a warm summer helped to boost both motoring (+3.8%) and cycling (+0.8% LFL) sales.
Our view: It’s common for retail businesses to see sales in store fall back as their website does more trade. But Halfords is a good example of a retailer that is giving its shoppers a reason to visit stores that make real sense to them. Customers who buy a windscreen wiper online for home delivery still need to fit it; those without the practical knowledge can pick it up inshore and get it fitted for a small charge, making the task much simpler. Other retailers may find different strategies work equally well to bring their online customers in-store and boost sales across their channels.
Image courtesy of Halfords