Halfords has introduced an SMS based Text and Reserve service that lets customers look up products, locate the nearest store that stocks the product and reserve and collect the product using their mobile phone.
Currently, customers can use the service for Halfords' range of motor vehicle parts, including oil, bulbs, batteries and wiper blades, and the retailer plans to extend the offering to non-motor products at a later date.
"By integrating web, store and mobile channels, we are able to further enhance our multi-channel customer proposition," says Sam Ambrose, Halfords' web development manager. "We can now maintain relationships with our customers wherever they are through their mobile phone, making it easier for our customers to interact with us."
To use the service, customers text an appropriate keyword, followed by their registration number (i.e. "bulb, ab01abc") to Halfords, where the vehicle make, model, engine size and body type of vehicle are established using registration lookup services. An SMS message is then returned to the customer saying:
"Halfords recommends Halfords Super Brilliance Blue Bulb Single HBU4775BBH7, 802561, £22.99 for your Audi. Check stock in your nearest store by replying with your postcode."
Upon the receipt of a customer reply message the system searches for the nearest store with the required product in stock, and forwards the following information to the customer:
"From Halfords. Your nearest store with product in stock is Redditch, 2.04 miles away. To reserve the item reply YES to this message."
Having replied 'yes' the system processes the request and sends a reservation message to the customer and to the store warehouse systems such as:
"Halfords reservation ref 8601043751. Order reserved at Redditch B98 0DE 01527 584488. Check www.halfords.com for store opening hours."