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Halfords unveils new digital platform

By Retail Technology | Thursday November 14 2013

Car maintenance and cycling retailer overhauls customer experience online and across devices with the unveiling of its new digital platform for the future

Halfords has unveiled its new digital platform for the future and overhaul of its existing website as a result of its work with e-commerce digital agency Salmon

This website relaunch marks the next phase in the retailer’s strategy to drive growth online and to its portfolio of 465 superstores nationwide. And the redesign is the latest development to enhance the customer experience, having been deployed across its .com and .ie websites, plus mobile and tablet optimised sites, in less than six months.

Clive West, Halfords digital director, stated: “Our new website represents a real commitment to Halfords online offer. More and more of our customers want to use the web as part of their purchasing trip with us. We’ve consulted extensively with them and believe the improvements we’ve made will increase the ease and enjoyment of shopping with”    

Reflecting customer feedback

In-depth customer research showed shoppers wanted to see more products, less text and only the key features while shopping. The new layout shows more products upfront with just the key details highlighted, such as customer ratings and price. Products with many variables (e.g. bikes with different frame sizes) are now displayed once, with an option to select frame size via a drop-down menu.

Developed on-budget and to tight timescales, now has been designed using inspirational visuals and a simpler layout and easier navigation (using a custom accordion) according to four key pillars. Each of the pillars – cycling, motoring, satnav and audio, and camping and touring – offers a different shopping experience. A new streamlined checkout process has halved the number checkout steps and the site also offers Google Maps integration.

Halfords has also rewritten over 4,500 product descriptions and more than 50 advice articles, as well as adding over 170 product videos for their brands as well as 50 new How To videos demonstrating Halfords service credentials, ranging from basic bike repairs to more technical videos. 

Strategic multichannel integration

The videos are shown on Halfords YouTube channel and will be shared via Facebook over the coming weeks. Salmon has re-written the Scene 7 viewer for HTML 5 so that videos on Tablet are more viewable. And, to offer an integrated digital experience, communication with customers via text alerts and emails now reflects Halfords new friendly, engaging and informative tone of voice.

Halfords has also simplified its customer proposition so that now all orders placed online for collection at one of Halfords stores can be paid for instore instead of only some of them. The instore process will change as some orders will combine products that are stocked instore with items delivered from the distribution centre or by couriers.

The automotive, leisure and cycling products and services retailer has worked with Salmon since 2005 to evolve its digital presence in line with its multichannel growth strategy. The agency added that, in addition to its redesign work, which involved the upgrade of Halford’s IBM WebSphere Commerce platform, also provided usability and performance testing and database tuning services.

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