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INTERNET RETAILING AWARDS INTERVIEW House of Fraser on its triple award winning performance

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House of Fraser was a clear winner at the Internet Retailing Awards earlier last month. The multichannel department store won not just one but three awards, the Innovation Award, the Mobile Award and the Judges’ Award. We caught up with Sarah Baillie, head of multichannel business development at House of Fraser , for her reaction.

Internet Retailing: House of Fraser won not just one but three awards at Internet Retailing Awards 2015, including the Judges Award. What was your reaction on the night?

Sarah Baillie, head of multichannel business development at House of Fraser (pictured left): The whole team was absolutely thrilled. The Internet Retailing Awards are one of the most prestigious and it’s one that we all get quite excited about, so we had our fingers crossed for one and we were thrilled to get it. But to get the second and then the Judges’ Award, everyone was really delighted.

IR: The awards recognise a great deal of progress. What has House of Fraser done in the last year that you’re most proud of, especially around innovation or mobile?

SB: I think the first thing to say is that we’ve restructured to make sure the whole business is multichannel. That has enabled some of the great work that’s been coming out around innovation and mobile. Recently, we’ve digitalised the Home brochure, adding a new augmented reality feature to the app. We’ve really got the offline team producing the brochure thinking about how can I bring this content to life? How can I use mobile technology to drive interactions? So I think the restructure has really enabled some of the great mobile work, like digitalising offline content.

IR: How do you see it developing over the next year, and where do you see customer demand in particular taking you?

SB: We don’t see mobile slowing down. In fact, we don’t really talk about mobile now, but about touch interfaces. The pace and range of development has to continue, and again, I think the online business has really progressed in leaps and bounds and now we’re trying to make sure the offline environment is also using all the great interactions and products that have been developed online.

IR: What’s your advice for other retailers who want to follow your example?

SB: Be resilient. You’ve got to be brave to have big organisational restructures that can support digital across the business, and it doesn’t happen overnight, so I would say resilience and perseverance are absolutely key. The other one is probably cultural change – to be able to say we’re comfortable with failing fast. You have to enable people to fail and to move on to the next thing. With the idea of agile iteration you have to have that ‘fail fast’ mentality.

Find out more about how House of Fraser approaches the multichannel challenge at Internet Retailing Conference 2015, where Sarah Baillie is presenting a retail case study, Walking Your Customer Through Their Online Shopping Journey. She’ll be speaking at 2pm in Stream 2: Products and Services of the October 14 conference. Find out more at internetretailingconference.com.

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