Having already achieved some success with its 'Reserve and Collect' service, Halfords is extending its multichannel strategy with the introduction of an SMS reservation service.
The 'Text and Reserve' service caters for mobile users, allowing them to check stock availability and reserve products at their nearest store. I've been trying it out...
The service, which was developed by Salmon, only covering motoring products at the moment, though there are plan to extend this to the rest of the product range later.
Text the car part you require alongside your car registration number, and you will get a reply recommending the most suitable product:
The service then locates the nearest store. You need to text your postcode for this, but there are further mobile commerce developments to come from Halfords, and you can see how this could be made more usable for phones with GPS:
You then have the option of reserving the item:
It does what it promises, and crucially, replies come quickly enough to make it useful for customers and avoid any frustration in having to wait for a reply. Reserve and collect has worked well for Halfords, with the retailer recently announcing its one millionth reservation.
Such changes in retail are being driven by the consumer, as well as by the amount of new channels and the increased choice that this provides. Retailers have to find new ways to interact with customers to add more value to the overall shopping experience, and this kind of mobile service is a good example of this.
With the help of technology, customers now have more choice of where to buy and who to buy from, so retailers need to understand this and to make it easy for consumers to make purchases and reserve products, whether this is online, offline, or by mobile.
This service fits very well with motoring products, but there are plenty of other retailers who could benefit from offering similar mobile services to consumers.