Lessons From Harrods That Every Brand Should Know

Harrods has hit new records, reporting annual sales in 2017 as £2bn. This is a stark contrast to reports surfacing just 10 years ago which speculated that the family-owned business was in trouble. What Harrods did to emerge triumphant is a lesson many retailers who face a downward turn could learn from.

Plan Your Space

By total definition, Harrods is a department store in the ranks of its contemporary Selfridges and the more accessible John Lewis. And yet, when you think of Harrods it succeeds in standing alone and many credit it to Al Fayed’s attempts to make Harrods less of a department store and more of an emporium. Famously quoted as saying “You want to buy a car? An elephant? You name it, it is here” – Al Fayed clings to the belief that more is more and in doing so, makes Harrods the number one destination for, well, just about everything.

This concept makes Harrods a destination for everything a consumer could hope to buy but is only possible thanks to management’s clever planning of floor space which is crafted to ensure the most profitable departments have more square metres. Sure, you can go to Harrods for a fridge – but they are using those square metres to drive in those customers who are far more enticed by perfume and clothes.


Retail Experience

Of course, Harrods is a multiband bazaar unlike no other. Instead of focusing on function and planning a retail journey that takes the customer from A to B, Harrods works to serve up a great dealt of retail theatre. Drama is everywhere, right down to the décor, the kitsch Egyptian Room (with giant gold sphinx and images of the Luxor temple) and the permanent shrine to Dodi and Diana. While Selfridges works hard to make their windows and pop-ups a discussion point, Harrods makes sure that all the entertainment goes on in-store and it’s this promise of something special that serves to ensure that over 100, 000 visitors a day walk through Harrods’ doors.

Down with Digital

It’s acknowledged that Harrods missed a trick or two when the digital revolution came. They probably struggled to identify how their brand proposition could be presented away from store. However, they’ve proven that it’s never too late to catch up with an all singing and dancing website which ships Harrods to all corners of the world. A big cash investment into digital media came this year and the sales support this clever decision.

Superbrand It

The superbrand has a lot of weight for luring consumers into store. Especially those consumers who want to shop from a wide range of brand offerings at once. Harrods work particularly hard to ensure all new collections from cutting-edge designers are on display in their halls. In fact, floor space devoted to designer labels well succeeds floor space devoted to own label which is a reverse move from usual department stores who try to push their own label in an attempt to drive direct profits.

Customer Loyalty

Harrods put a strong emphasis on customer loyalty. Going beyond the ‘never knowingly undersold’ they work to offer credit card and customer loyalty schemes that succeed in provoking repeat purchases. It might seem simple to offer a customer loyalty programme, but department stores are increasingly under fire for being impersonal – so Harrods’ management team increasingly try to connect with the customer and give the brand not just an identity but a face.

Harrods offer modern-day retailers a great lesson in how to stay true to your mission but how to adapt it when consumer confidence falls. If you are a brand looking to understand how to plan your retail space, manage your digital marketing or introduce a customer loyalty programme – get in touch with Think Positive today.

To arrange a free consultation with Think Positive call us now on 0044 (0)20 8678 7378 or email info@antonio-marsocci.com.