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DFS launches new multichannel platform

By Retail Technology | Thursday September 12 2013

Transforms business with new multi-million pound investment to offer customers a fully integrated journey from inspiration to purchase

DFS has announced the launch of its new multichannel platform and websites, and, delivered by e-commerce integrator Salmon

The new platform has been designed to offer customers of the British furniture retailer an integrated journey, taking them all the way from inspiration to purchase, via whichever channels and devices they use.

DFS carried out extensive research in collaboration with customer experience analytics firm ForeSee to understand how consumers wanted to use the online environment to help them find their perfect sofa. Insights showed that customers increasingly seek inspiration, gather research and compare designs, colours and value online, before they visit a DFS store. And yet, just as when people purchase a car, they rarely commit to buy until they’ve sat in the front seat - or in DFS’ case, on the sofa.

Responding to changing shopping habits

Analytics also showed that channels through which customers access DFS’ website is changing. The increase in consumers’ use of tablets as they search for a new sofa, for example, is increasing at an exponential rate. The data shows a staggering increase from 10% to greater than 30% in website traffic from tablets in the last six months, a figure that is likely to rise as tablets grow in popularity.

DFS has responded to these insights with a multi-million pound investment in digital transformation that puts the customer right at the heart of its business. The cornerstone of this initiative is a new website, built to handle growing demand and the increasing use of digital devices, such as tablets, by customers, and is hosted by Rackspace.

Tim Stacey, DFS online and business development director, commented: “Our digital transformation directly addresses the needs of our customers, offering a rich and fully integrated experience, from inspiration to purchase. This investment will play a significant role in building on the strong performance DFS continues to deliver in 2013, as we continue to outperform the rest of the sector.”

Building out multichannel platform

DFS chose the IBM WebSphere Commerce platform to be the foundation of their sales and marketing operation and to support all their customer touchpoints, including tablet, PC, mobile, telephone sales and stores.

After browsing for inspiration on the website, customers can now get help with online videos, buying guides and visualise their sofa through a new colour configuration tool, chat with customer advisors via video, text or phone to discuss the options available, including size, colour, fabric and more. Salmon also developed an optimised checkout for customer advisors to guide them through the sales process.

Customers will also be able to use new devices, including touchscreen kiosks and iPads available in all 97 DFS stores, to continue their browsing experience and ‘bring their front room’ with them to the store. 

In addition, when customers add products to their favourites list and basket, these are then visible across devices. They can track their orders and receive update statuses; order colour swatches on selected ranges; and search and select their nearest store based on where a specific product model is displayed. The multichannel platform also features social media integration with the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

Managing varied technology suppliers

DFS selected a number of partners to create the ultimate experience for their customers including, Salmon to deliver the project, bringing together people, partners and systems, Grand Union for customer experience design, Amplience for dynamic imagery and video, Worldpay’s online payment solution, ForeSee for customer experience analytics, Rackspace for hosting and Mediacom for search optimisation.

Russell Harte, head of multichannel development and delivery at DFS, stated: “We now have a world class platform underpinning our business and supporting our digital transformation. It contains all our product details, customer information and orders and is supporting our multichannel operation. Our customers are now able to interact with us through whatever channel they choose, which is leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty and will ultimately drive DFS sales.”

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