Selfridges revamps website to reflect in-store experience

Selfridges has invested £40m in revamping its website as it looks to bring the website in line with the experience people have of the brand in-store.

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The new site has a greater focus on content, with Selfridges recently hiring an online editor-in-chief. It is also aiming to make more of its products available online, having recently signed a deal with Cartier to sell on its site

Simon Forester, Selfridges’ multichannel director, told Marketing Week’s sister title Econsultancy: “The simple content strategy is that we want everything that’s in-store to be online. We’re not there yet but we’ve made big strides towards it.

“There’s the whole question of will people buy jewellery online but we’ve found that, if people will buy it in store, they will look at in online, so we need to give them the choice.”

Forester admits the previous website wasn’t as “sharp” as it could be and didn’t fall in the “top quartile”, meaning fundamental updates were needed. Changes include an overhaul of site search and new options such as a “quick view” of products and a wish list function.

Since the search changes were implemented five weeks ago, Forester claims that the number of people visiting product pages is up 10 per cent.

“What’s happening so far is that customers are getting to where they want to a much greater degree. With the changes, the whole experience of shopping online will be closer to what you get when you go to Selfridges,” he adds.

The site has also been redesigned with mobile in mind as 60 per cent of visits now come from phones and tablets. Forester says luxury customers use digital devices “more than anyone else” and have “higher levels” of browsing and consideration.

“No one comes to Selfridges and buys a coat because they’re cold. It’s all about the brand. The challenge is that we have a great brand that we need to make work in a digital format,” he says.

At the moment Selfridges only allocates click and collect sales to individual stores but is hoping to expand that across its online business. Forester hopes this will have a big impact on store managers, forcing them to think not just about how they can serve customers in store but also online.

“We want people in the store to think about all aspects of this service, not just the channel they’re in. People may not want to buy in store, they could be coming in to see products and then order them later at home or want them sent to where they live. If you give stores credit for that you’re changing their jobs. As soon as you do that, people start to think differently,” he says.

Read Econsultancy’s review of the new Selfridges site and a Q&A with multichannel director Simon Forester.

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