Blog Post - Iain Devine, Aug 13 2015

​Salmon partners with Halfords to support online marketplace launch

​Salmon partners with Halfords to support online marketplace launch

By Iain Devine, Commercial Director, Salmon

As consumers, we expect more from the brands and retailers we love, anticipating increased levels of choice, outstanding service and competitive pricing. The pressure is on for retailers to deliver.

Halfords, Britain’s biggest bike retailer, has reacted to this with the launch of its new online marketplace. Following in the footsteps of e-commerce giants eBay and Amazon, the new platform will offer customers an extended range of up to 40,000 products alongside its own collection.

We are delighted to have supported Halfords to complete the delivery of its new Mirakl marketplace, integrating it with their existing IBM WebSphere Commerce platform while ensuring the shopping experience remains seamless for customers – a vital role when considering Halfords.com received an impressive 90 million visits last year and online sales reached £100million.

The ethos of the marketplace is centred on reacting to customers’ demands as new products can be introduced to the site within weeks. Using search data, Halfords can anticipate and react to trends and customers’ buying behaviour whilst testing the market for new brands in real time. Currently Halfords have 40 suppliers and are looking to grow this to 100.

The Halfords marketplace allows vendors to display their products, alongside pricing and shipping details, available on Halfords’ website. Halfords’ back end system extracts the product information and feeds it into its commerce platform. Although the products are sold from Halfords’ commerce platform, with real time communication with Mirakl for prices, stock and confirmation of orders, fulfilment falls to the vendor. This enables Halfords to expand the range of products on offer and take a percentage of the sale without having to hold the stock themselves.

With excellent customer experience a key objective, we have already shortened the check-out cycle whilst ensuring delivery options are made clearer. This will help to establish the different services available when buying Halfords’ own products or its sellers’ items. As a result abandonment rates have already improved.

Speaking to Halfords’ ‎Digital Director, Katrina Jamieson, she commented: “This is a truly exciting time for both Halfords and the retail sector, as new technology-led innovations continue to transform the customers shopping journey. Nowadays there are more channels than ever and whilst there is a temptation to try and have a presence on all, our new marketplace is a prime example of creating a perfect multi-channel blend, identifying key channels and, thanks to partners like Salmon, making them work hard.”

Salmon is delighted to be a part of bringing these solutions to life through Halfords’ e-commerce proposition, providing its customers with the products they need, when they need them.