Harvey Nichols integrates for customer service

Twelve months into its deployment of technology to help deliver more targeted customer service, Harvey Nichols has seen sales through marketing events rise by as much as 25 per cent.

The luxury department store retailer deployed customer relationship management (CRM) software last year to get a better integrated, single view of the customer.

Martin Schofield, Harvey Nichols IT and logistics director told delegates at Retail Solutions in London today that the desire to have better visibility of its customers came out of a major systems overhaul that saw the retailer overhaul its point-of-sale (POS), merchandising and warehouse systems.

"It's all very well being able to do stock look-ups at the till and tell the customer if another store has the item they were looking for or whether it can be sent from the warehouse," he said. "But we had no way of finding out if moving that stock around was worthwhile: could the store that sent it out have sold it if the customer never came back for it?"

To achieve this goal, Schofield said it was important to be able to tie transactions back to customers.

The retailer has deployed Pivotal CRM software on its refreshed store till systems and established new procedures to capture as many customer details as possible at till point. "If customers feel they are getting value, they don't tend to mind giving out personal information, he observed.

Integration of 750,000 customer details from Harvey Nichols' till systems, fledgling e-commerce accessories channel, e-newsletters and store credit card operations then provides store staff with a single, comprehensive view of the customer at the POS via a dedicated web-based interface.

"Staff can see transactional history, their favourite brands and other information relevant to the customer at the till," said Schofield. "And the system can generate customer offers dynamically in real-time according to those details."

One such offer involves a series of exclusive parties each store runs to target high-value customers with previews of the latest season's fashions. Schofield said that, since beginning the CRM roll out, revenue from these parties has risen and the most recent exceeded previous sales by 25 per cent. "We can use the system to make sure the brands they like are on offer," he added.

The system also helps the retailer with its compliance requirements, where Schofield said it can now match 85 per cent of transactions back to a specific customer.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.