House of Fraser Review – Retail Strategy
House of Fraser – Retail Strategy score 25/25
There may have been a time when we questioned the relevance of a chain of department stores like House of Fraser in a market where Amazon and ASOS were the darlings of online retailing. But with its expertise in premium fashion, customers continue to enjoy the curated experience of this 165 year old retailer.
In its physical spaces House of Fraser exploits an understanding of the shopping habits of the modern customer enriched with its loyalty card data, whilst also managing to marry retail theatre with digital innovation. Its strategy is underpinned by an innovation speed and openness to experimentation that enables it to try ideas such as the Aberdeen and Liverpool online-only stores, and then rapidly iterate them in response to consumer reaction. This includes fearlessly closing them if they’re not working.
It’s in the multichannel offer where House of Fraser has blazed a trail, clearly identifying that its offline customer can be found dual-screening after putting the kids to bed or after sitting down with a glass of wine in the early evening. Investing in building ever later cut-offs - now midnight for next evening delivery - it’s firmly rooted in understanding and satisfying those evening shoppers. House of Fraser’s wide array of flexible delivery and collection options strongly signals its commitment to developing a retail strategy founded in a single view of stock, and an always-on supply chain that sees stores as both retail destinations and convenient pick-up points. And it’s doing this as a business whose differentiation is increasingly founded in a premium fashion positioning and concession model. The supplier relationships and capabilities necessary for this demonstrate its strength in partner management. Just as many retailers explore the benefits of drop-shipping, House of Fraser could start to build its own variant of this and develop an ever more expansive virtual range, especially important as it extends into bigger ticket home items.
House of Fraser’s new owner, the Chinese company Sanpower, has ambitious plans to expand internationally starting with Russia and the Middle East. It’s also no doubt excited by the strong emphasis on having a single view of the customer, stock and transactions that will aid the organisation in firmly marching towards being a genuinely customer–centric retailer where even ‘omni-channel’ becomes an outdated idea.Scoring
The simple scoring from Transform is based on whether or not five services are offered by the retailer in the UK with a score of 0 for no and 5 for yes. On this basis, House of Fraser scores 25/25.
Collection in-store: Yes
Mobile app: Yes
Mobile web: Yes
iPad app: Yes
In-store tech: Yes
Joe Tarragano, Director, Transform