House of Fraser, a major upscale department store chain in the United Kingdom, has launched an e-commerce site, with the goal of becoming a full-fledged multi-channel retailer. “The long-term objective is the web store will become our biggest store within the House of Fraser at some point next year,” says Peter Callaway, e-commerce director.
The web site for House of Fraser, which has more than 60 stores in the U.K. and Ireland, went live in September, with 6,000 products, Callaway says. Previously, the retailer had only a non-transactional web site. The new site is built on the e-commerce platform of Woburn, MA-based Demandware Inc.
At year-end, there were about 11,500 products for sale online and by spring, the site will carry between 17,500 and 20,000 products, Callaway says. “The whole ethos of House of Fraser is about being a branded retailer, so the strength of House of Fraser is its brand,” he says. “At the moment, we’ve probably got about 250 to 300 brands online and that’s going to grow to 450 to 500 in the spring.”
The web channel is getting a lot of attention and support from the business as a whole of the House of Fraser, Callaway adds.
“The whole ethos behind the web site is to push the brand messaging and customer communication across all channels,” he says. “As the web site develops, it’s really about how we work with engaging our customers and their aspirations across the stores, in print, online and by the phone that will drive any developments we have on the web site.”
Callaway would not disclose sales figures for the site, but says it is off to a “very successful start.”