salLondon, 6th March 2008 - Salmon, specialists in delivering IT solutions today announced they have been working with Halfords to develop an innovative multi-channel capability in the form of online reservations, providing customers with the choice to buy when, where and how they like.
Halfords.com has now synchronised online ordering and store fulfilment and will be rolling out its Reserve and Collect through its extensive network of stores nationwide, this Spring. Customers will be able to choose to reserve online and collect in store, in addition to the traditional method of ordering online for home delivery. Early indications suggest the initiative has been a resounding success, with impressive results of over 100,000 orders being taken online from November 2007 through to January 2008, prior to Halfords national rollout.
Halfords decided to implement the changes in order to continue to exceed customer’s expectations through its multi-channel offering, drive profitability and growth, and differentiate the Halfords brand even further. They approached JTM Partners, to create the look and feel of the new checkout, and Salmon to develop the schematics and functional dynamic pages using CSS, XHTML and J2EE.
Halfords.com customers can now choose from a range of stores for collection based on entering their postcode or town name and will be able to mix home delivery and store collection within a single transaction. They will be given a list of their nearest stores and the distance to that store, along with stock availability and delivery methods available.
Jon Asbury, Channel Development Manager for Halfords said, “It is very important for us to be able to predict customer’s expectations building our customers loyalty and enticing new online shoppers. To do this we knew we had to organise the business around the customer and deliver a consistent brand experience no matter how our customers choose to shop with us. We can now provide a quality shopping experience any time, any place, anywhere and have a business model in place that will support long term, sustainable growth and profitability.”
Other new features developed by Salmon include: A premium delivery option, where customers can choose a delivery day suitable for them. Customers purchasing CD audio units will be clearly notified that car specific components may be required to enable their chosen product to be fitted to their car, (although the items are not mandatory and the customer can proceed without viewing or choosing an “essential” item).
Jeff Leaver, Salmon’s Chief Operations Officer said, “Salmon originally began working with Halfords back in 2005, Halfords.com is now their highest turnover store, and the most visited sports and leisure website in the UK. They have a solid eCommerce platform and we are working with them to integrate additional channels substantiating the fact that they are a true multi-channel retailer, with aspirations to grow their business and stay at the leading edge of technology.”
Usability testing undertaken by Salmon prior to the new checkout process being developed ensured that any usability issues were uncovered and resolved early in the project, helping Halfords increase sales through better acquisition, conversion and retention of customers.
Salmon has integrated Halfords.com with a number of business systems transforming the customer experience. Halfords can now develop new cross channel processes that are unique to their business and will inspire their customers.
Integration points include MultiMap to ascertain the distance (in miles) from the search location to the stores listed and a facility to provide driving instructions to the store. QAS has been integrated for address management and data integrity, Scene7 for dynamic imaging and a link to an innovative website called Mythings.com (offers a free service where customers can organise their possessions online).
The sites are built on IBM WebSphere Commerce for its scalability, open technology standards, adaptability and capability to support best in class mission critical enterprise applications. In addition, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 from Novell was selected as the operating system.
Halfords Group plc is the UK's leading auto, leisure and cycling products retailer, with 433 stores and 10,000 employees. It was established in 1892 and was successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange in June 2004. The Group sells 11,000 different product lines, ranging from car parts and cycles through to the latest in-car technology, alloy wheels, child seats, roof boxes and the latest outdoor leisure and camping equipment. Halfords' own brands include Ripspeed, for car enhancement, and Bikehut, for cycles and cycling accessories, including the Apollo and Carrera brands. Stores offer a "WeFit" service for car parts, child seats, satellite navigation and in-car entertainment systems, and a "WeRepair" service for cycles. Customers can now enjoy three different ways to shop with Halfords. Shop in store, buy on-line, or use the new Reserve & Collect service to reserve products on line at www.halfords.com, the UK’s most popular leisure website.
Salmon is an IT services and consulting company that is completely committed to mitigating the risks inherent in identifying, developing, implementing and supporting web based applications and systems. Salmon combines comprehensive business acumen and IT project management expertise with over 18 years of successfully translating leading edge technologies into viable solutions. The company works in a diverse range of sectors including insurance, retail banking, retail, telecommunications, media, utilities and manufacturing. Salmon’s unique approach is underpinned by a desire to provide premium customer satisfaction, and to work in a way that ensures each client retains control of its budget and strategic direction, whilst Salmon takes responsibility for each initiative. Customers include Arcadia Group Limited, Argos, Ann Summers, Anglian Water, Homebase, Halfords, ICI plc, Manchester Airport, Novae, Swiss Re and Interface.
Salmon is headquartered in Watford, Hertfordshire. For more details about Salmon visit www.salmon.com
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Published on: 12:00AM on 7th March 2008