House of Fraser launched a redesigned version of its site earlier this week, with a focus on catering for touch screen users.
I've been asking Executive Director for MultiChannel at House of Fraser Andy Harding about the thinking behind the relaunch...
Why the need for a redesign? How has it gone so far?
We felt the need for a new design to embrace the changing ways that customers are engaging with our brand.
The majority of our customers will browse our website using a touch screen device so concluded that we would better serve them by providing an experience specifically designed for that experience and context.
The relaunch has gone extremely well so far, exceeding our early expectations.
How did you identify the areas you needed to change? Have you decided not to redesign the checkout process?
A combination of lab testing work, behavioural analytics and customer insight feedback.
Have you decided not to redesign the checkout process? Or is this something for a later date?
Our checkout is an award winning experience but it is complex and so we decided that it would be addressed in the second phase of development.
I like the True Fit tool - have you tested this before? Are returns a major issue?
This has been online for some time now.
We like it because it addresses customer preferences around how they like to wear their clothes rather than the simple – your measurements means this size garment - approach of most other solutions.
Returns are a significant cost of all online retail but we have found that True Fit reduces our returns rate significantly.
You mention 50%+ of traffic comes from mobile. How does this split between mobile and tablet? How do conversion rates differ between the two devices?
I can’t share the detail but we do tend to see higher conversion rates for our tablet customers than mobile.
The checkout process can be a major barrier to sales via smartphones - what is the best way to address this problem?
Try to adopt a frictionless approach. By reducing the data entry requirements and providing as short as possible process, this will reduce drop out.
However, these rules are no different from other devices.
Are you able to track customer behaviour across different devices? What trends have you spotted?
We can and we do see subtle navigational changes.
However, the new site hasn’t been live long enough yet for us to be able to determine any significant trends yet.
With so many SKUs, do you make every item available to buy on the ecommerce site, or prioritise items?
We try to range every single sku, we don’t prioritise. Speed to market is essential so we are very focussed on improving our on boarding process.
Last time we interviewed you, you said that 35% of orders were via buy and collect, has this grown since?
It has grown fractionally but we have introduced a number of new fulfilment services into the proposition so if we were to measure it on a like-for-like basis it would be significantly higher.
We also spoke about using the web, and mobile in particular, to enhance the in-store experience. How has this worked for you? What has worked best?
This has worked well. We have focused a lot of effort on promoting our app in store as a tool to aid customers and add value to their in store shopping experience.
We see many customers using it to check stock levels and see more product information.
As a result aap downloads and sales are up over 100% on last year.