Harvey Nichols has announced a partnership with retail technology company Hero to expand its live online stylist function across Britain, in a bid to bring online and offline closer together.
The platform, which is integrated into the Harvey Nichols website, connects in-store stylists with customers anywhere in the world online giving them style tips, information about products, photos of collections and live stream videos from stores.
During store opening hours of 10am to 10pm, the platform connects customers with stylists, and, for the first time, allows in-store staff to make commission on online sales. More than 300 associates have used the service since its launch and it is set to grow as it is expanded out to all eight stores in the UK and Ireland.
The department store and technology company first launched the programme a year ago at Harvey Nichols’ Knightsbridge flagship store and has trialled it at that site over the past 12 months. During the trial online shoppers were found to be five times more likely to purchase a product and likely to spend twice as much, Harvey Nichols executive director Pearson Poon said.
“Approximately 10% of our sales are online at the moment, but we are seeing online as our fastest-growing store, so we wanted to make sure customers were getting the store experience as much as possible.
“It is about bridging that gap between online and offline because ultimate from a strategic perspective you want the customer shopping experience to be seamless, whether you are shopping online or offline. We want it to be the same experience whichever Harvey Nichols channel you use.”
Hero founder and CEO Adam Levene said: “Harvey Nichols is a destination store, which means we can drive customers in from online. In the future our focus is on ensuring that the customer is identified upon entry and that they experience cross-channel seamlessly.”
The exclusive agreement between the companies also included an investment from Harvey Nichols’ Asian arm into the technology company to “show [its] commitment in terms of future development and rolling out the technological offer to customers”.
Poon added: “We do not make these types of strategic investment very often. There are a number of strong pureplay retailers at the moment and we wanted to think of a way to differentiate our eight UK stores, our international stores and our website from others.”