House of Fraser Review – Internet Retailing In Store score 15/25
As one of the pioneers of in-store ordering, House of Fraser stores have a number of carefully placed PC terminals that enable customers to access its website. The terminals run the standard website where the customer can order from the full range of products, the majority for Click & Collect or for home delivery.
The kiosks themselves are quite basic, a small PC screen with a keyboard and rollerball mouse pads are not as modern or user friendly in comparison to the touch screen versions preferred by other retailers such as M&S. Many are placed near the tills and clearly designed to be staff assisted. Linger near one and a helpful staff member will offer to help you almost immediately. The kiosks are highly functional but not at all experiential.
Taking the concept of kiosks to the next level, in 2011 HoF launched two small format, fully digitally-enabled Buy & Collect concept stores in Aberdeen and Liverpool, (the latter of which has since closed). The 1,500 square foot stores comprised of digital screens, large format touch screens, computers and a fitting room and are designed solely to offer Click & Collect services rather than to sell merchandise direct to customers. Following on, in October 2013 HoF also devoted the 5th Floor in its Edinburgh store to the C&C concept.
Other than this, digital in store at other House of Fraser department store locations seems to be limited with little integration of mobile. There is a scanning capability within HoF’s app to aid in-store shopping, but internet access and app were both unreliable and we could not get this feature to work quickly and effectively while in store. There is also a “check in” feature, which tells your Facebook friends you are shopping at a HoF store, but is not linked to a mobile geolocation tool to deliver in-context promotions. The app also offers a new mobile “shopping list feature” where customers are encouraged to create a list of items, check the store stock in their size and then tick them off once they are in store but there is little promotion of this feature across channels.
The success of HoF’s digital concept stores has not been specifically or widely reported, however HoF stated that the 5th floor at the Edinburgh store generated 25% of online orders (in the store) during its first 2 weeks. HoF is also reported to be in discussion for up to 10 further C&C stores illustrating that the digitally enabled store is still very much part of its strategy.
Reeta Junankar, Consulting Manager, Javelin Group