By Michelle Hespe
Harrods needs no introduction, however, many people might not realize how progressive and innovative Harrods Home has become in recent years.
No words are minced when it comes to the mission statement of Harrods. The iconic store’s goal is “to be the number one department store in the world for luxury branded merchandise, maintaining an unprecedented level of retail standards and expertise.”
The great story of Harrods began in 1849, way back when it was a grocer and tea merchant. After a relocation to London’s distinguished neighborhood of Knightsbridge, the Harrods legend was born. Fast forward 169 years, and Harrods continues to make its mark on the retail scene, with a plethora of awards under its belt.
This year, at the 2018 IHA Global Innovation Awards (gia) in Chicago, the retail giant once again basked in the limelight as it landed two major awards for Harrods Cook Shop. First, it became the recipient of the Martin M. Pegler Award for Excellence in Visual Merchandising. “Harrods has a great array of emotion present in its visual merchandising, and it always conveys a wonderful sense of storytelling in both window displays and in-store,” the gia jury announced.
Later into the evening at the gia gala event, Harrods was also announced as one of the five top retailers in the world, becoming a gia Global Honoree. After the win was announced, Annalise Fard, Director of Home at Harrods said, “We are absolutely thrilled to see Harrods’ ongoing commitment to technology and innovation recognized as part of the prestigious IHA Global Innovation Awards. Winning the gia Global Honoree and the Martin M. Pegler Excellence in Visual Merchandising Award is an incredible honor for both myself and our extremely talented buying team. Harrods recognizes the growing demand for innovative home appliances and new cookware collections, with our buyers regularly exploring marketing-leading product offerings and ranges, all carefully selected with our discerning customer in mind.”
All of the judges and the expert gia jury agreed that from store design and customer service to marketing and staff training, “Harrods excels in everything it does.”
In anyone’s terms, Harrods is gigantic. Spread over seven floors, it has its own bank, an urban day spa, a penthouse for more exclusive visitors in need of privacy and personal shoppers, and it’s 100-year-old food hall draws thousands of shoppers and tourists simply wanting to experience the thrill of being in Harrods, every day. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Something that people who have not visited Harrods in recent years might not know is that company has truly bridged the gorge between bricks and mortar sales and the new technology driven world of retail, and Harrods Cook Shop is a fine example of the Harrods of today. A total of 1250 m2 (13,466 ft2), the Cook Shop and Home Appliances rooms are bright, inviting, interactive shopping destinations brimming with meticulously curated collections of cookware and home appliances — the emphasis always being on design, quality and function. Currently, there are 23 collections that cater to everyone from the beginner cook up to products for professional chefs.
Something that Harrods has always done well is entertaining its customers, and today in the Cook Shop this tradition heartily continues, with the demonstration areas strategically placed at the heart of each room.
“Many of these customers are aspiring chefs, looking for products of a professional standard, which we are able to offer. We also offer live, in-store demonstrations; creating a truly unforgettable customer experience” says Annalise. BBQ demonstrations, outdoor cooking and entertaining are often a focus during summer, and in winter, it’s all about cozy baking and roasting. The space is often home to celebrity chefs or authors, hosting book signings or demonstrating how to re-create their recipes in your own home.
Music is also played throughout the spaces, and with the bright yet ambient lighting, this creates a welcoming atmosphere, encouraging visitors to feel at home. Real plants, herbs, and cookbooks are used in displays, and with the live cooking demonstrations by chefs occurring regularly, the scent of coffee and fresh baked goods is usually in the air. And just like at home, technology is close at hand as well, as Harrods has a commitment to technological innovation — iPads and plasma screens are spread throughout the spaces to demonstrate the full potential of the products available.
Any campaign that Harrods creates is executed in a 360-degree message designed with wow factor in mind. For instance, in 2017, it released The Social Butterfly campaign to celebrate the British social season, and a leading paper artist named Zoe Bradley was contracted to create a beautiful butterfly chandelier made up of more than 5,000 butterflies and 8,000 cable ties. The various departments reflected this concept with ‘swarms’ of butterflies on display and exclusive product throughout the store, including a tote bag and drinking cup displaying Zoe’s butterfly design so customers could take a little piece of the concept home with them.
As any business owner knows, a company is only as good as its people, and Harrods believes in going above and beyond to support staff within their roles. Staff are regularly offered the opportunity to attend education training classes and courses throughout the year. Harrods also has a Learning & Development team that aims to promote learners using a blended approach of experience, coaching and formal learning.
The end result is that customers can tell, from the moment that they step into Harrods, that there is passion and expertise behind all projects and products. In fact, beforethey even step into this legendary store, the ‘Green Men’ are there in their immaculate iconic suits, opening those world-recognized doors as they’ve done for more than 150 years.
“Sir, Madame, a warm welcome to Harrods!”
To learn more about Harrods, visit www.harrods.com.
For more information about the gia (IHA Global Innovation Awards) program, the co-sponsors, or participating in 2018-2019, contact Piritta Törrö. Additional information on the gia program is also available online.
Visit our website for more information about the International Home + Housewares Show and to pre-register for the 2019 Show, taking place in Chicago on March 2-5, 2019.