Retailer Halfords is in strong health as a result of its multi-channel strategy and the transformation being put in place by the leadership team, including CIO Anna Barsby.
Two weeks ago Halfords reported a 7.9% increase in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to June 27 and reported a 21.3% increase in cycling sales. These figures were reported to the markets just days before the world's most important and biggest cycling event took place in Yorkshire, the Tour de France.
CIO Barsby told CIO UK in a Profile interview: "Omni-channel retail should be seamless; it's just about a single customer view. Customers order wherever they like and we must deliver wherever they like."
Halfords chief executive Matt Davies told news outlets that the latest set of results are an "exceptional performance", but that he would not be raising the profit expectations for the year at the Midlands-based retailer. Unlike previous years, Halfords was able to report that all areas of its business were seeing increased market share as a result of improvements to stock control, availability and the range of products available. Barsby describes Halfords as being a retailer that provides the products for "life on the move" and that the web business reflects this.
"We also have a new store format rolling out which have screens in them, with an App that enables customers to enter their car registration number and the App tells you the exact part they need," she said. Barsby and her team are buying in data sets and rolling out new hardware with the aim of integrating their online and high-street retail experiences.
"Tablets are being used with YouTube to show customers the products we supply in greater detail. We've developed a bike wizard for choosing a bicycle online, but many customers still want to sit on a bike, so we looked at how we size people from standing in front of a screen. Technology is at the heart of these changes," Barsby said.