Halfords

Halfords: the customer journey from search to checkout

Following the relaunch of its ecommerce site at the end of 2013, Halfords online sales have risen 13.7% from the same time last year.

As reported in Internet Retailing last week, Halfords’ online sales represented 12.2% of its total retail sales. Conversion rates have risen by 19% and 92% of online orders were collected in store through its click and collect service.

Impressive figures that certainly position Halfords as a successful multichannel retailer, but what makes the Halfords online experience particularly conducive to improving its revenue?

Recently we’ve featured Halfords in various articles related to ecommerce – social customer service, guest checkouts click and collect – and to be honest this retailer hasn’t come out particularly well.

How these five ecommerce stores can improve their checkouts

Writing on this blog affords me a rare opportunity to talk positively and constructively about things that I care about. Which makes a change from the usual negative bile I spew on other websites and at home. 

We have a responsibility to offer guidance, tips and best practice to help improve everyone’s digital experiences and we love highlighting examples that we think will offer inspiration.

I don’t think we’ve ever said “Brand X sucks”, at least not without offering constructive criticism or highlighting where things could be improved.

But when we’re researching certain topics, as I was doing last week when investigating whether top UK retailers use guest checkouts it’s difficult not to be frustrated with poor user experiences and thoughtless design.

This article is designed to show how a few of the poorer checkouts I’ve experienced could be improved, with just a few simple tweaks. This isn’t for naming and shaming; it’s for prodding in the right direction for the benefit of their customers. 

Graham Charlton wrote a cracking post on 11 of the world’s best ecommerce checkouts which I encourage you to read as it contains essential advice for best practice.

79% of consumers have used reserve-and-collect in the past year

Almost two-thirds of consumers (63%) have bought products online before collecting them in-store at least once in the past 12 months, while 16% use reserve-and-collect at least once a month.

Overall around a fifth (22%) of consumers said they have never used the service, which is actually a very slight increase compared to 2012 when the figure stood at 20%.

Even so, the data highlights the continuing importance of reserve-and-collect services for multichannel retailers as a sales tool. The Multichannel Retail Survey, conducted using the Toluna survey tool, also found that 50% of respondents had abandoned a purchase online due to unsatisfactory delivery options. 

Halfords: mobile site review

Halfords launched its first mobile website last week which aims to cater for users doing product research on the move, another multichannel move by the retailer. 

The new mobile site was developed by Salmon, and allows users to browse items and reserve them for collection from their nearest store. I’ve been trying the site out… 

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Halford’s extends multichannel strategy to mobile

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…

Reserve and collect is paying off for Halfords

The benefits for retailers of a multichannel approach are highlighted this week by the fact that Halfords has recently reached it’s one millionth online reservation for in store collection. 

Customers like to do their research online, and it makes perfect sense for those online retailers with a high street presence to offer in store collection services and thus cater for shoppers who would rather shop offline.

Reserve and collect works for Halfords and Argos

Allowing customers to reserve items online for instore pick up is working well for retailers, with both Argos and Halfords posting impressive improvements in multichannel revenues.

In both cases, reserve and collect services were responsible for driving significant numbers of offline sales.