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NRF: 'Don’t get caught in omnichannel trap'

House of Fraser’s chief customer officer Andy Harding has warned retailers not to get too caught up in omnichannel.

Speaking at retail technology show NRF in New York this week, Harding said that while retailers should embrace omnichannel practices, such as achieving a single customer view and maintaining consistency across channels, they should act as multichannel businesses and treat each channel differently to maximise on the potential for each. 

Citing a target to become a £2bn UK business in the next few years, Harding emphasised how organisational changes in the business had been paramount.

Head of digital product at House of Fraser, Sarah Baillie outlined the new organisational structure, which includes a head of customer insight, director of brand and creative, director of digital product and director of global multichannel trading, all reporting into Harding as chief customer officer.

She said: “Customer expectations don’t just need to be met, they need to be exceeded. Retailers must anticipate trends and know where the business sits in those customer expectations.”

Baillie also pointed out how important it is to bring employees within the business on the journey and ensure they understand the rational for change.

Also on the panel, Elaine Smith, head of products at HoF said that customer insight informs strategy prioritisation and decision making at the business. Emphasising how important it is to bring together on and offline teams, Smith said this has allowed the retailer to become much more agile and speak as a brand with confidence and authority.


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