Halfords

This last week Halfords introduced their new concept format in Colchester, and it has been hailed by their CEO Graham Stapleton as the future of Halfords. It brings us an enormous amount of pleasure to say that the Experience team here at Eclipse have been working closely with the team at Halfords to bring their vision to life.

THE IDEATION THAT LED TO INNOVATION

When we started working with the team at Halfords, we dared to think big. We wanted to push the boundaries of what most thought was possible for the traditional in-store experience. This lead to many ideas that needed to be validated before being taken to a proof of concept stage.

The Experience team took inspiration from Google with this. We took the idea, built a week sprint, and developed it into a proof of concept. If it worked, we moved it forward. If it didn’t, we dropped it and moved on. This allowed for fast innovation, the inclusion of all ideas and deliverable action, all at the same time.

The idea was to make sure that we didn’t spend too much time thinking about stuff that sounded like a great idea, was overdeveloped, and then ultimately turned into a no-go due to budget or technology restrictions.

WE TOOK WHAT WORKED AND RAN WITH IT

We very quickly discovered that our Ares technology, our Augmented Reality eCommerce Solution, would have a real-world, instore application that would be of high value to the Halfords customer.

We developed it in several ways, most of which have made it into the new concept store in Colchester.

Interactive AR search on products, directly from the shelf edge, puts information normally reserved for the instore experts or a rather extensive Google search directly in the hands of the customer at the point of product discovery.

We developed this by going into store and talking to real Halfords customers early in the process. This enabled us to shape our decision making and iterate quickly using real user feedback, taken in the moment, to push the solution forward in a way that would resonate with first time users.

By using this instore customers can get answers to questions they have, pull up product reviews, related products, usage information and other information that helps reassure the customer that they’ve found the product they’re looking for.

AUGMENTED REALITY

Another of our innovations was around the ‘virtual try-on’ of Roof Boxes. We developed a kit that allows the instore experts to assist customers interested in purchasing a roof box by giving them a virtual look at it attached to their car.

This gives customers the chance to check the fit, appearance and overall suitability of the roof box with their vehicle before placing an order.

This again removes doubt and uncertainty before committing to buying a roof box and should help reduce returns due to incorrect products being selected.

“We think of this new concept format as the future of Halfords; one where customer experience is seamlessly, consistently and conveniently executed across all locations in a town, and we are delighted to unveil it in Colchester. Whether it’s a roof box for the next family holiday, a bike safety check or the annual MOT, these changes make it easier than ever to find product solutions, book services and access our expert colleagues to ultimately keep our customers on the move.”

Graham Stapleton, Halfords CEO

IT'S JUST THE BEGINNING

Set to be trialled in three locations, the new format marks Halfords’ move to make it easier for customers to find the services and solutions they need, whether it be in-store, at one of its two local Autocentres, or through mobile vans bringing services right onto their driveways.

As well as offering a transformational cohesive customer journey, the new format will provide an exciting, engaging, and personalised experience for Colchester customers underpinned with specialist knowledge.

And it is just the beginning of the journey for Eclipse and Halford’s partnership. Our Experience team have plenty more ideas and as we continue to work together, in our agile proof of concept way, the existing solutions will get even better and new fresh ways for customers to discover and interact with product instore and online will be introduced.