Physical and IT infrastructure
Halfords is a service-led specialist retailer. This is reflected in some important statistics:
- 80% of our customers want some form of assistance with their purchases.
- Around 85% of customers shopping on Halfords.com collect their purchases in store.
This means our stores are absolutely central to our proposition and we need to continue to invest in them. In 2013 we embarked upon a store refresh programme and around 100 stores were refreshed in the subsequent three years. This programme was a success with positive customer feedback and sales uplifts that justified the capital investment.
Following the launch of our Moving Up A Gear strategy in November 2015 we decided to take another look at our refresh programme; evolving it to reflect improvements in customer data, branding and technological capability, and to showcase our key differentiators: service and services. In November 2016 we opened the first of these new refresh concepts in Derby. We have since refreshed a further four stores before the year end.
The key features of the refresh concept are:
- Greater focus on services, including in-store service menu and clearer signage;
- 'Park up and relax' lounge, where customers can sit and have a hot drink whilst waiting for services on their car or bike;
- Dedicated, covered fitting bays in the car park for on-the-spot bulb, blade and battery fittings and other services, such as windscreen chip repair;
- Electric car charging points, in support of the growing number of electric cars on the road;
- Dedicated hubs within the store for service, parts, technology and 'click & collect';
- Updated design principles, to reflect the "Halfords – For Life's Journeys" brand positioning that was launched in June 2016;
- An exciting new 'Smart Fit' centre that enables customers aged 8 and over to have their measurements taken virtually to find the perfect bike for them;
- Headsets to enable colleagues to communicate instantly regardless of whether they are inside or outside the shop; and
- Two distinct 'shops within a shop'. The cycling area has a softer feel, whilst the motoring area is more functional.
We are learning as we go and we'll be continually testing new concepts along the way. However we are encouraged by the initial response, both in terms of customer feedback and sales uplifts. We plan to refresh around 30 stores in FY18.