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House of Fraser eyes multi-million growth online

House of Fraser has set itself an ambitious target to double annual turnover from its multichannel division to around £130m.

Sales via internet and mobile devices currently account for around 10% of HoF’s annual turnover, which in its most recent annual accounts - to end-January 2012 -exceeded £685m.

The department store is aiming to reach 20% of the business’ total turnover within just a few years.

The past two years has seen the department store plough “significant” investment into the arm, having identified back in 2011 that customers were struggling to use the site.

Although annual online sales had reached £50m by that point, feedback showed that customers found the site was “not easy to use” and that HoF was “falling behind the curve in terms of innovation”, the business said.

Director of ecommerce Andy Harding said: “It is our goal to treat each customer like a VIP and that requires the personalisation that multi-channel retail can offer.

“This is not about a shift in focus, such as fewer stores, but rather about bringing existing and new channels to market more closely, to provide a joined-up experience for customers. The company’s multi-channel strategy is to encourage customers to shop across multiple channels by differentiating the service and through innovation.”

Harding worked alongside HoF’s long term partner eCommera and eCommerce platform Demandware to improve usability,

HoF also introduced elements such as brand navigation. This in turn helped the department store encourage new brands to launch onto the website, taking the total number represented from 800 to 1,200.

It is also testing online concept stores in Aberdeen and Liverpool, comprising banks of iPads, computers and interactive screens, giving shoppers access to more than 1,000 brands from a small physical shop.

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