Harvey Norman finds value in omni-channel retailing

Chief digital officer, Gary Wheelhouse, says 60 per cent of the retailer's website traffic is coming from mobile

eBay enterprise vice president and CMO, Mark Kirschner, chats to Harvey Norman CDO Gary Wheelhouse during MagentoLive in Sydney.
eBay enterprise vice president and CMO, Mark Kirschner, chats to Harvey Norman CDO Gary Wheelhouse during MagentoLive in Sydney.

Harvey Norman’s omni-channel strategy has come a long way since it launched an e-commerce website in 2011, says CDO Gary Wheelhouse.

“I don’t think anyone would suggest that Harvey Norman was an early adopter of online. In fact, I would say there is a last mover advantage strategy,” he told delegates at MagentoLive in Sydney.

“The fact is that we needed a website that connected to our 180 stores.”

When Harvey Norman started its online journey in 2011, it wanted to bring the retail options to online, such as the ability for customers to interact with salespeople using live chat.

“One of the primary reasons customers go into stores is to talk to people. We very quickly understood that live chat was something we needed to do. If you are online and chatting to someone from Harvey Norman, you are talking to someone who has worked in a store and sold those products,” said Wheelhouse.

To improve the online experience, Wheelhouse has focused on what he calls customer journey mapping. This involves using a wealth of information from customer service and social media.

For example, there might be a case where a Harvey Norman customer has gone for the click and collect option. This is where they buy an item from the website and then collect it from the store.

“You might read about a customer who has done a click and collect and has had to go to the store three times. That’s just terrible, you’re telling me another way to go and shop,” he commented.

According to Wheelhouse, click and collect is the perfect meeting of the online and retail experience.

“Our customers are still going into stores but what are they doing? They are researching online. They are also doing click and collect. We benefit from driving traffic into stores because we can upsell the customer in store with an extra warranty or other service.”

Hand in hand with online comes mobile commerce. Wheelhouse said it has put a lot of time into making the mobile website responsive so that customers can shop on their smartphone or tablet.

“It’s great to look at the stats on a Saturday night and see that 60 per cent of your traffic is coming from mobile. I’m expecting that Boxing Day [sales] will be bigger for mobile than desktop,” he said.

Future investment

As a former Harvey Norman franchisee, Wheelhouse says he feels sorry for sales people because they are now “outgunned by customers.”

“As a customer, we walk into a store with more information about the three products that we’re interested in than the 1,000 products that the salesperson will need to have a level of understanding about.”

To solve this problem, Harvey Norman is looking to arm sales staff with more information on a device so that they can assist the customer with an in-store sale.

Beacons may also be on the horizon. Wheelhouse told delegates that he has spent a lot of time looking at overseas Beacon examples from Target and Walmart in the United States to see what works in a retail environment.

“It’s great if you were on the app and walked in store and the Beacon said `Hi Mark, welcome back, and by the way that product you were looking at is now available.’

There are no shortage of [Beacon] players in Australia. That is something we would go out and test and get some results. That isn’t something that I think would be a long way away,” he said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Putting the ‘human element’ back in marketing

During the recent CMO Momentum conference, Paul Mitchell shared how marketing leaders can create cultures that deliver

Paul Mitchell

Managing director, The Human Enterprise

The rise and rise of voice search

In 1982, an AT&T employee by the name of Plotzke predicted the rise of voice: “In fact, it has been predicted that, by 1990, well over half the communications dollars spent by businesses will be for products and services that include voice technologies.

Michael Jenkins

Founder and director, Shout agency

Is design thinking the answer for the next generation of marketing?

The speed and pace of change will never be slower than we’re experiencing today. So in this era of unprecedented change, how can brands meet soaring consumer expectations, stay relevant and deliver differentiated and connected experiences?

Merryn Olifent

Senior consultant, G2 Innovation

End your financial worriesAre you a business man or woman? And you are in need of an urgent loan as to start up your own business? Or do ...

lance

Kmart turnaround chief to exit Wesfarmers, Target

Read more

https://uploads.disquscdn.c... [magic school bus] KID: where are we going today MS. FRIZZLE: the zoo KID: but last week we went to SPACE ...

Germain3161

Sephora Asia details its journey to data-driven decision making

Read more

DP Apparel bietet große Auswahl Audi Rennbekleidung in Deutschland zu den besten Angeboten. Das Geschäft bietet auch qualitativ hochwerti...

DP apparel

Audi Australia gets a new CMO

Read more

this is a really great news

Vincent Mouton

Mobile-first banking startup showcases fresh brand identity

Read more

Prozac is the brand name of fluoxetine, a prescription drug used to treat depression obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder. B...

jenson smith

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 19 July 2018

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in