Interview with Halfords &Salmon on their new platform

Following in the footsteps of e-commerce giants eBay and Amazon, Halfords, Britain’s biggest bike retailer, launched its new marketplace in June with global digital commerce consultancy Salmon, who integrated the marketplace with its existing commerce site. The new platform will offer customers an extended range of up to 40,000 products alongside its own collection.

We caught up with Halfords’ Digital Director, Katrina Jamieson and Salmon’s Commercial Director, Iain Devine, about the new platform and what it means for customers.

Q: What prompted the creation of the Halfords online marketplace?
Katrina Jamison, Halfords:

“Consumers are beginning to expect more from the brands they love, seeking increased levels of choice, outstanding service and competitive pricing. The pressure is on for retailers to deliver and the online marketplace is our solution to meeting the needs of our customers.”

Q: How will the Halfords marketplace revolutionise the customer experience?
Katrina Jamison, Halfords:

“Our existing customers are becoming more digitally engaged. Last year saw online sales of £100 million, so the marketplace is the result of us effectively responding to our customer’s growing digital demands. With stock from over 60 approved partners, customers can have all their favourite lines in one place with improved choice, service and pricing.”

“New technology-led innovations are continuing to support and transform the customer shopping journey. We have already shortened the check-out cycle whilst ensuring delivery options are made clearer, which will help to establish the different services available when buying Halfords’ own products or its partners’ items. As a knock-on abandonment rates have already improved.”

Q: What opportunities does the Halfords marketplace open-up to brands?
Iain Devine, Salmon:

“The new marketplace gives retailers of any size a platform to display their products, alongside pricing and shipping details, to Halfords’ large customer base. With fulfilment falling to the vendor Halfords can expand the items on offer without having to hold the stock, giving it more flexibility when it comes to welcoming new vendors.”

Q: What does the future of the marketplace look like?
Katrina Jamison, Halfords:

“The ethos of the marketplace is centred on flexibility. Not only does it allow us to react to customers’ demands quickly, with the ability to add new products to the site within a matter of weeks, but by using search data we can also anticipate and react to trends and customers’ buying behaviour whilst testing the market for new brands in real time. This information is invaluable for shaping our marketing strategy. Looking ahead, we also have plans to grow our number of sellers from 60 to 100.”

Q: How do you think this affects the future of online retailing?
Iain Devine, Salmon:

“Halfords is leading the modernisation of online retailing and is setting the standard for online customer platforms. The ability to analyse customers’ shopping habits is now a reality for retailers and they need to be taking advantage of this valuable information to constantly improve the customer experience.”

“Nowadays there are more channels than ever and whilst there is a temptation to try and have a presence on all, Halfords’ new marketplace is a prime example of creating a perfect multi-channel blend, identifying key channels and making them work hard.”

Interesting links:


Halfords & Salmon

HalfordsHalfords employs in excess of 10,000 staff and sells over 10,000 different product lines, ranging from car parts and cycles through to the latest in-car technology, alloy wheels, child seats, roof boxes and outdoor leisure and camping equipment.

SalmonSalmon have been helping Halfords implement their multichannel strategy since 2005; responsible for designing, developing, integrating and supporting the solutions they have built.

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