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Harvey Nichols ramps up ecommerce team for five-year strategy

Harvey Nichols is boosting its ecommerce headcount as it embarks on a five-year multichannel retail strategy.

The luxury fashion department store has ramped up its ecommerce team from seven, adding roles including editors, copywriters, web and usability designers, with a lead digital designer to be appointed by the end of the summer.

The team, headed up by former Matches fashion marketing and ecommerce manager Sandrine Deveaux, who joined as head of ecommerce last May, is expected to reach around 39 by the end of the year.

Though Harvey Nichols wouldn’t be drawn on details or what sort of technologies it is considering, a content-rich site, mobile payments and apps are on the cards. Service will also be key.

According to marketing director Julia Bowe, around 47% of Harvey Nichols’ sales in-store start with online research. Creating content to engage with both local and international visitors will, therefore, be vital to boosting sales, she said.

She added: “It’s an evolution, rather than revolution. We want to create a commercially viable ecommerce business and make sure we grow profitably. It’s a key part of being a multi-channel retailer.”

Harvey Nichols launched its first website in 2000 and its first transactional site in 2005. Harvey Nichols chief executive Joseph Wan said that the department store had to date been cautious in its approach to ecommerce, adopting a ‘wait and see’ strategy, but that it was now “all systems go” for a first-class multichannel offering.

The 13-door department store is also to introduce classic luxury brands Chanel, Dior and Hermès for the first time across all fashion categories in a bid to capture spend from its growing emerging markets customer base from countries including Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC).

Earlier this year, Wan forecast record profits for the year ended in March. He expected to post earnings of more than £18m, beating the previous high achieved in 2007/08.

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