House of Fraser is a premium department store chain with an evolving multichannel presence to match its stores. It already had a multichannel strategy in place, but knew the whole business needed to undergo significant change to become less siloed and more customer-centred.
The key challenges were in assessing the effectiveness of the business’ ecommerce and multichannel systems for the future, and looking at the skills and processes within the multichannel team as well as the structure of the wider business.
We assessed House of Fraser’s existing multichannel capabilities and supported the leadership in defining what needed to be in place to facilitate continued multichannel growth. This included identifying technologies and platforms, people and the culture appropriate for House of Fraser in the future, as well as the transitions the business must make.
For example, we assessed the customer experience compared to where the retailer wanted it to be. We also looked at how easy systems were for the retailer’s staff to use; whether they supported business processes already in place, and if they could cope if those business processes changed.
We then looked at how the multichannel team worked with the wider business, identifying the skills gaps so that House of Fraser could understand and plug the gaps in their team. For example we recommended that the business expand its in-house analytics resource, which it did with great success.
The House of Fraser team has seen huge success since partnering with Practicology, with Chief Customer Officer Andy Harding praising the “strong cultural fit” between ourselves and his business.
Practicology delivered a multichannel systems strategy and roadmap for the business, giving House of Fraser the guidance in selecting and utilising its systems. Our partnership allowed House of Fraser to identify the most critical platforms for upgrade, the order in which it should tackle systems, and an overall assessment of their cost benefits.
The retailer was also able to understand and define what its multichannel capabilities needed to be, from a cultural and skills perspective. With customer habits fast-changing, strategy is now informed by the output of the unified customer insight team serving the brand, CRM, product and multichannel functions.
Since then, House of Fraser has engaged Practicology to lead its Project Gold initiative to create a customer-centric business structure that would support 50% of its sales coming through digital channels. Harding has described the project as "the biggest ever reorganisation of the business".
We are transitioning as a business to move from one where we have a multichannel team, to one where the whole of the business is the multichannel team. I don’t think it is easy to do. A lot of businesses are finding it difficult to make that transition, and that’s an area where we have seen really significant help and support from the Practicology team.
Andy Harding – Chief Customer Officer – House of Fraser