Halfords has slowly crept up the IRUK 500 rankings, but has always been at the forefront of mobile as an early adopter of the technology. In fact, Halfords is one of the pioneers of both mobile and click and collect, and has inculcated an environment of seamless in-store, online and mobile services for a number of years.
What Halfords does well – and what has seen it rank highly in the IRUK 500 Mobile and Cross-channel Dimension – is letting customers order online and come to collect in the store, where they can be sold additional services and add-ons.
“Retail is simple as long as everyone is looking towards the same goals – it should never be online versus stores,” explains Katrina Jamieson, digital director at Halfords. “Don’t be tempted to go overboard on embracing technology for technology’s sake. Every customer has a mobile phone, for instance, so make it simple for customers. Ensure every change is better for customers, easier for colleagues and ideally faster than the competition.”
The app itself also performs highly, which again is impressive as the app has many elements. Of particular note is that you can use your car registration to get spares that are designed for your make of car – an excellent and time-saving use of the national car registration database and really customer-focused. It also features a barcode scanner, which is handy for then ordering out-of-stock items online if you are in the store, and a store finder plus many other ‘basic features’.
Halfords has strong plans to develop mobile, and its role in click and collect and other in-store functions. It has been trialling smart watches for click and collect at one of its stores, and has seen collection rates improve, cut paperwork and got staff excited about technology.
Halfords has trialled a range of in-store tablets for customer use, as well as phones and smart watches to help staff pick click-and-collect orders. Using the tech, staff are automatically notified of incoming customers and their orders on the screens and watches. Staff members can then use their phone or smart watch to generate a ‘pick list’, allowing them to put new orders together while they walk around the store.
Customers check in on a touchscreen kiosk at the front of the store and confirm their orders, are shown any relevant upsell products and are told where to go to collect their orders. Customers can also use the kiosk to ask for help, which pages a staff member on their phone or smart watch. It will be interesting to see if Halfords rolls this out across its stores.