Watford, London Tuesday 29th September 2009 – Salmon, specialists in delivering eCommerce solutions today announce they have worked with Halfords to deliver a unique “Text and Reserve” service that extends their multi-channel strategy to mobile phone users. Customers can now look up products, locate their nearest store that stocks the recommended product and reserve and collect the product, using their mobile phone and the power of SMS text messaging.

The unique “Text and Reserve” service recommends the right car parts or products for a customer’s particular make and model of car, based on the vehicle registration number, minimising effort required by the customer and enhancing their shopping experience. Initially, this one-of-a-kind service will support motor vehicle parts, including oil, bulbs, batteries and wiper blades. Halfords hope to extend the offering to non-motor products at a later date.

The service has been specifically tailored by Salmon to integrate with Halfords existing back-end IT systems that hold vital information on products, vehicles and stock inventory. Halfords aim to promote the service using Keyword and shared short code services in selected Halfords media materials. Web Development Manager, Sam Ambrose from Halfords said, “Salmon are helping us maximise the opportunities of the mobile channel, extending our multi-channel offering with this new service which distinguishes our brand. We can now maintain relationships with our customers wherever they are through their mobile phone, making it easier for our customers to interact with us and allowing us to promote and market to them more effectively.”

Neil Stewart, Commercial Director for Salmon said, “The current trend in multi-channel shopping has retailers targeting customers whichever device they are on. A new study by Gartner suggests mobile ad spending will grow 74% this year to $913.5 million and explode by 2011.” Stewart went on to say, “The opportunities presented by the mobile channel are considerable and can contribute to revenue growth and internal cost efficiencies relating to call centre costs and direct marketing activity. By integrating web, store and mobile channels, Halfords have further enhanced the multi-channel experience their customers demand and continue to excel when it comes to customer service.”

Delivering “Text and Reserve”:
To deliver the “Text and Reserve” solution Salmon extended the Halfords “Reserve and Collect” service delivered by Salmon in 2008, providing web service access to M-Send, a Halfords business partner responsible for handling all the SMS interaction with customers. The web service access reuses existing complex integration with Halfords back office systems to enhance the customer experience.

The solution benefits from the following integration:

>>Itim Zygon Product Information Management System - for identifying vehicles from their registration plate and recommending the right product for each car
>>SAP - to provide product and pricing information
>>Multimap - to establish the stores nearest to the customer
>>BT Expedite Store 6 - to check store stock availability and ultimately accept the customers reservation

Example Scenario:

>>To use the service, customers text the appropriate Keyword, followed by their registration number (i.e. “bulb, vfo3yjc”) to Halfords, where the vehicle make, model, engine size and body type of vehicle are established using registration lookup services.
>>An SMS message is then returned to the customer saying: “Halfords recommends Halfords Super Brilliance Blue Bulb Single HBU4775BBH7, 802561, £22.99 for your AUDI. Check stock in your nearest store by replying with your postcode.”
>>Upon the receipt of a customer reply message the system searches for the nearest store with the required product in stock, and forwards this information to the customer. “From Halfords. Your nearest store with product in stock is Redditch, 2.04 miles away. To reserve the item reply YES to this message.” Having replied ‘yes’ the system processes the request and sends a reservation message to the customer and to the store warehouse systems. e.g. “Halfords reservation ref 8601043751 – Order reserved at Redditch B98 0DE 01527 584488. Check www.halfords.com for store opening hours.”

Salmon have been helping Halfords implement their multi-channel strategy since 2005, responsible for designing and developing, Halfords.com as well as integrating the eCommerce platform with its other channels such as stores and contact centre. Salmon also provides 24x7x365 application management and support services for the IT based solutions it has developed.

About Halfords:
The Group employs in excess of 10,000 staff and sells over 10,000 different product lines, ranging from car parts and cycles through to the latest in-car technology, alloy wheels, child seats, roof boxes and 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. Two further premium brands were added during 2008; Boardman cycles and accessories, where Halfords has exclusive UK distribution rights, and URBAN Escape for camping equipment. Operating from 467 stores, including five stores in the Czech Republic, and 25 smaller format, neighbourhood stores, Halfords offers a "wefit" service for car parts, child seats, satellite navigation and in-car entertainment systems, and a “werepair” service for cycles. Halfords: shop in store, buy on line, or use "Reserve & Collect" service to acquire products on line at www.halfords.com.

About Salmon:
Salmon is a highly innovative regional systems integrator whose commitment to on-time, on-budget projects is increasingly embraced by the leading names in retail, insurance and financial services markets. Since 1989, leading brands have been turning to Salmon for its ability to build, integrate and support business-led systems that add measurable competitive value to their day-to-day operations – and to their bottom line. Salmon quickly understand business needs, creates realistic development schedules, and efficiently delivers solutions to plan; based around an ethos that marries a depth and breadth of development skills, with a management process that removes virtually all risk from successful project roll-outs. Customers include Argos, Ann Summers, Bristol & West, Halfords, ICI Paints and Swiss Re. Salmon is headquartered in Watford, Hertfordshire and has offices in US, China and Australia. For more details about Salmon visit http://www.salmon.com.

Contact Details:
Joanna Temple
Marketing and PR Manager
Salmon Limited
64 Clarendon Road
WD17 1DA
Tel: 01923 320000
Mob: 07799 764227
Web: http://www.salmon.com

Published on: 11:22AM on 29th September 2009