Harvey Nichols tries out Hero omnichannel tech

Harvey Nichols has announced a partnership with Hero, making it the only luxury department store in the UK to implement the startup’s technology. The store's Asia-based private investment fund also made an undisclosed minority investment in the London and New York-based tech venture. 

The retailer, which posted a £6.7 million loss for the year ending in April 2017 compared to a £3 million profit in 2016, has been investing heavily in improving the customer experience, including spending more than a year redesigning its flagship store in Knightsbridge, west London.

The first stage of its Hero partnership has seen Harvey Nichols offering Live Shopping to online customers for the first time. Customers shopping at harveynichols.com can connect in real-time with stylists and product experts from the closest store to them. This can be done via instant messaging and also via photo sharing and live video streaming.

The two have also launched Black Book, an artificial intelligence-powered solution enabling sales associates from Harvey Nichols to connect with customers via messaging. Customers invited to Black Book can opt-in to stay connected with their preferred stylist in and out of the store. 

Plans are afoot to explore further solutions for both online and in-store. “Closing the service gap between online and in-store is a critical part of our retail strategy, and we are delighted to be partnering with Hero to offer our online customers the same level of luxury, personalised service that they would experience at our Harvey Nichols stores,” said Pearson Poon, executive director, Harvey Nichols.

"We look forward to exploring continued innovation with Hero to bring to reality our vision of merging physical and digital channels to offer best-in-class customer experience."