So, Mike Ashley has fulfilled his long-held dream and brought a department store. Not just any old department store but the once mighty House of Fraser. A business built over the course of the last century that even once included the grand old dame of Knightsbridge herself, Harrods.
By announcing he wants to create the ‘Harrods of the high street’ he certainly has come in for some criticism. However, he stands a good a chance as anyone at making this work given his own rags to riches rise in the retail world.
So how can he do this? Well he can help create a radical retail experience from some of the best locations on the high street. If John Lewis can start to open sushi bars, roof top restaurants and in store cinemas why can’t Hof do something radical with its space. I certainly see a gym or two opening in the excess space going forward.
Its CEO Alex Williamson has some great experience at events and at Goodwood opened news restaurants and even a luxury hotel. Does the Oxford Street store need all the floors it currently occupies, or can the space do something very cool indeed?
Now of course, the customer experience will need to be standout and the employees will need to be invested in and not just paid the minimum. Invest in the teams, empower them and then add in some very cool tech and you could have a set of experiences that are amazing.
If he can manage to make luxury accessible to everyone in the right way without devaluing the brands, then that can surely make Hof a place to visit again. Getting personalisation right will be key and making sure that each store serves it local area in the right way with the right brands would help the business win customers.
Understanding the local customer will also be key and serving them the right products at the right time in a cool space with a great experience is the key to its success.
It’s a big undertaking of course, however with the right focus Hof can be great again and deliver a reason for the customers to visit both online and the stores.
Follow these steps to make House of Fraser great again!