Carpetright says a move to align its website and call centre have led to sales from the combination of the two that are equivalent to one of its top 20 stores.
The floor coverings-to-beds business said the results stem from work to improve its conversion to sales ratio, with improved follow-up of leads at store level and through a call centre. “Sales from this combination of the call centre and an online capability have grown significantly during the period,” said Carpetright in its half-year results today.
The figures showed that Carpetright moved into the black in the first half of its financial year. The retailer said that although group sales fell by 2.2% to £222.2m in the 26 weeks to October 26, pre-tax profits rose from a loss of £7.9m at the same time last year to a profit of £1.9m. UK sales also fell by 2.2%, to £185m, and rest of Europe sales by 2.4%. At the same time, total store space fell by 0.9% to 5.7m sq ft.
Carpetright’s work to optimise digital as part of its multichannel sales structure also included developing the website during the first half in order both to improve the website and drive sales. Moves such as improving navigation in the beds section of the website, and investment in SEO and pay per click have helped lift website visitor numbers by 22% in the first half.
The company is now taking its insights to its Dutch business, where a new site, expected to go live during January 2014, will have sample ordering, appoinment booking and online payment of outstanding balances.
Other work during the first half included progress in its three-year programme to refurbish its UK stores, where 224 stores have now been completed. The company has also introduced the concept of sample-only stores, enabling it to work from smaller premises at 16 locations, with lower operating costs.