Daily Insights

Harrods Hops the Border

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | Feb 27, 2019

Historic London department store Harrods is hopping across the border—online, that is—via an agreement with fashion e-tail platform Farfetch. In a world where offline success is often dictated by online presence, here’s why the partnership could be especially instrumental for Harrods.

Despite being a longstanding pillar of brick-and-mortar luxury, Harrods lacks omnichannel features including Buy Online, Pick Up in Store and inventory counts for items. As such, the department store fell from Average to Challenged year over year in Gartner L2’s rankings, seeing declining web advertising and mobile site performance relative to other brands tracked in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Department Stores. Joining forces with Farfetch could be a particularly plush digital opportunity because Harrods is pairing up with the e-tailer’s Black & White Solutions, which offers global e-commerce while still allowing the former to exercise creative control, according to its site. In this way, Harrods can offer seamless international service online while still retaining its established, British luxury appeal.

With Instagram as the leading social media platform for department stores, doubling up on posts would be helpful to Harrods too. Currently, every retailer tracked in Gartner L2’s study is active on the platform. In fact, 18% go a step further by offering men-specific accounts in addition to general accounts that tend to focus on women’s products. Some department stores use these to effectively segment content and audiences. For example, luxury label Barney’s men’s account earns more interactions per follower than the retailer’s widely followed primary account, despite posting roughly half as often. Meanwhile, Harrods neglects these accounts by posting fewer than three times per week on average and earn the fewest interactions per follower in comparison to the their primary account.

For a department store like Harrods that’s based in one of the trendiest cities in the world, defining a global audience is key to keep from becoming stagnant. And for department store brands trying to stay ahead of the crowd, pairing up with an international platform such as Farfetch could be the answer.