IN FEBRUARY 2014, House of Fraser unveiled its mobile-first website. The move came a scant eight months after the department store publicly recognised the fact that more than half its traffic now came from mobile devices, and announced it would make mobile design a priority. By Christmas 2014, House of Fraser has said, mobile traffic and sales were at record levels, part of a cross-channel performance that saw online sales rise by 31.2% in the six weeks to 3 January 2015, compared to the same period in the previous year, while bricks-and-mortar stores were 4.2% ahead.
Overall, Christmas like-for-like sales were 8% up on the previous year. The strong performance suggests that the department store had met customers’ demands, in ways that include enabling customers to shop via their mobile devices, while also making mobile a bridge that connected the different sales channels. House of Fraser’s channel-linking approach has also won the department store credit as a Leading retailer in this Mobile and Cross-channel Dimension.
Consumers have moved quickly to use House of Fraser’s mobile services. In June, the retailer said more than 50% of visits were via mobile. By October, more than half of sales were made using the channel. Speaking ahead of InternetRetailing Conference 2014, held in October, Andy Harding , executive director, multichannel, at House of Fraser, said customers’ behaviour was changing as they used their handheld devices to access the site, whether they were using beacons in store or scanning items using the mobile app.
Harding commented: “Mobile is now the single biggest channel that our customers use and that makes it mandatory to consider mobile, and make sure that each channel can be used in a way that’s contextually relevant to the customer journey. The most important thing is that you don’t just bring everything together for the sake of it into one user experience. You need to be consistent between your channels but still leverage the value that each channel has in the customer journey. If you’re using mobile in-store, that experience should use functions that add value to the context that the shopper is in.”
The tablet and desktop experiences, he said, must be different and fit with the way that shoppers use those channels. The retailer has changed its strategy as its customers have changed their behaviour. With an approach of continuous investment, it now aims to keep pace in times of fast development.
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