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Halfords boosts online efficiency with product data tool

Bike and automotive parts retailer Halfords has integrated Heiler Software's product information management (PIM) system into its website, which provides the business with a centralised tool for storing and distributing customer-facing product data.

Working with retail consultancy Javelin Group, Halfords identified the Heiler solution as a way of adding new products to its website more quickly and linking product attributes to the search functionality of the site.

The PIM replaces a de-centralised, legacy spreadsheet-based system, which Javelin Group said was "severely challenged" due to the retailer's extensive product inventory, wide range of suppliers and constant stream of new products coming online.

Clive West, digital director at Halfords, commented: "We are delighted with our new PIM solution and the enhanced customer experience it provides across our web, mobile and tablet sites.

"Javelin Group has been central to the delivery of this project, from their expertise in technology strategy to experience in development. It has been a pleasure to work with the Javelin Group team on this project."

In the longer term, an integrated supplier portal on the Halfords website will allow suppliers to maintain their own product data.

The PIM system is one of a number of online changes Halfords has made in recent months as part of the company's recently launched 'Getting into Gear' customer service improvement initiative.

In October, Halfords began the first phase of its strategy to improve its online retail offering, which included a new homepage that gives customers an opportunity to access product ranges in fewer clicks than before.

Click & collect orders now have to be paid for in-store, which helps join up the different channels of the Halfords business, while the coming months will see the retailer enhance its social network interactions and upgrade the 'My Account' functionality on its website.

Earlier this month Halfords said that online revenues for the first half of its financial year were up 16.9% compared to the same period in 2012, with eCommerce sales accounting for 11.5% of total retail sales.

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www.javelingroup.com