Harrods operates in the Luxury end of the retail market where offering customers the wow factor and a unique experience is key. For over 150 years, Harrods has had a rich heritage of driving service excellence through investment and innovation in the customer experience.
Consequently, Harrods customers are extremely loyal. They are also widely spread throughout the globe and cannot always visit the flagship store in Knightsbridge, London. Therefore, growth via other channels, such as online, is critical. The percentage of international customers shopping online has grown steadily over the last five years.
Offering the same experience across all channels, including online, and reaching out to those customers that do not live near the store became paramount to both meet customers’ needs and expectations.
Expanding the e-commerce business and becoming truly omni-channel was critical to the next stage of the Harrods journey.
The customers’ needs are moving at pace and the challenge for Harrods was to deliver a new platform that could respond to market dynamics and changes to customer behaviour. With this goal in mind, Harrods embarked on a re-platform programme in October 2014. E-commerce requirements were outlined; Technology applications and IT suppliers were selected.
In June 2015, Harrods requested Project One support to help re-enforce the programme to ensure it was a truly omni-channel business transformation. While the transformation programme started in the e-commerce department, Harrods recognised that to fully achieve their ambition, a cross-departmental programme of work and staff mobilisation was required.
Harrods looked to Project One to provide additional programme leadership capability to scope, shape, mobilise and execute an integrated transformation in the business and IT.
“It was impressive how the Project One individuals came on board our fast-moving train. They plugged in our capability gap with specific skills and got up-to-speed very quickly. They turned up on Monday and started adding value by 10:00am.”
Jonathan Manley, IT Director.
Harrods’ new platform and associated business processes went live in May 2017 providing Harrods a solution based on integrated best in class components that provided an excellent baseline for their Omni-Channel ambitions. The website provided a significant step change with the capacity to grow substantially in terms of products, customers and transactional volumes. Neil Borer, e-commerce Director at Harrods, summarised it:
“Our programme has delivered the foundation needed to propel forward the digital and omni-channel ambitions of the business. We now have the infrastructure in place to manage customer, product, order and stock data seamlessly across the business, whilst at the same time have a web application capable of scaling to the needs of our rapidly growing, global ecommerce business.
We have delivered a best-in-class luxury experience to the customer, that meets the needs of our products and how our customers like to browse and shop them. With adaptive/responsive templates, we are able to ensure consistency across all devices.
Given the scale and complexity of the project, upgrading and blending legacy, back-end systems with new, digitally orientated applications, Project One played a fundamental and instrumental role in ensuring all the moving parts were managed and aligned for successful go-live.
The pace and rhythm of the programme really became defined by the programme lead. Everyone got on board with it, and that drove a lot of the commitment, energy, passion which emanated directly from her.”
Neil Borer, e-commerce Director at Harrods