Assessing the Halfords Brand

Each week in association with retail and marketing consultancy Pragma, MarketingWeek.co.uk looks at a high-profile UK brand, assessing its performance against a range of criteria and offering suggestions to improve its overall score. Marks for each section are given out of five stars, while the overall rating is given at the end of the review.

Brand ****

Halfords is the UK’s leading bicycle and car accessories chain.  The retailer is very much focused on selling well-known mainstream brands at discounted prices and the brand represents trustworthiness, product quality and reliability. The relatively recent redesign of the company’s logo has been successful, with the new orange and black logo serving as a means of reinforcing its brand identity.

Experience ***

The majority of the range (two-thirds) is given over to car accessories and the remaining third to cycling equipment.  There is clear demarcation between these two product ranges. The stores are bright, basic and easy to navigate if not a little uninspiring.  The nature of the product range and the clinical layout of the stores does not make it particularly browser friendly and we felt most customers would be unlikely to impulse buy.  This may be more applicable to women who may find the environment rather male orientated. The staff seem to have a good level of product knowledge.

Product **

The range is based on mainstream non-specialist requirements with well known brands that most will recognise and therefore trust.  The range is not sufficient to cater for serious cyclists or car enthusiasts.  The small section of unrelated items such as mobile phone accessories, camping gear, table tennis and pool tables seem completely detached from the rest of the concept.  The fact that there are not enough of these products may itself query these seemingly unrelated range extensions.

 Value Positioning ****

The layout is simple but focused on price, but it is sometimes difficult to differentiate the long-term value offers from sale discounts.  The retailer also has a price promise and has positioned itself as the only major bicycle and car accessory chain in the UK.

Location ****

Most Halfords stores are in out-of- town locations and their store development strategy is largely focused on such sites; this seems appropriate when considering the product range.

Recommendations

– Do not confuse the original offer – car accessories and bicycles – by introducing unrelated product ranges such as pool tables.  It would be better to extend only into ranges that are clearly related to the core offer.

– Try to develop more interesting flow routes around the store to encourage impulse purchases.  Look to make the stores less of an exclusively male feel.

– Halfords must maintain a strong advertising presence.  It is not a strong ‘front of mind brand’ due to the type of products it specialises in.

– The internet and free, fast, efficient delivery of larger, higher ticket goods will be essential to extending sales beyond the basic range.

Overall: ****

www.pragmauk.com

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