Harrods is the world's leading luxury retail destination, attracting over 300,000 visitors per day, all expecting a premium retail experience like no other. On 4.5 acres spread over seven floors, there are 330 departments, 130 rooms, 28 restaurants and 28 additional services accessed via 10 customer entrances, nine customer lifts, seven staircases and six escalators. Problems with disorientation and overcrowding were causing aggravation and loss of sales.
The team undertook 18 months of observation, research and workshops, applying a service design approach to discover the pain points on the customer journey. Two main insights drove the formation of the strategy. First, the store has similar challenges as large museums with complex room structures, inconsistent vertical circulation points and multiple facilities. Second, important touchpoints during the customer journey were missing, making it impossible for people to put together a whole journey. The team’s key strategic innovation was the introduction of a room numbering system, something tried and tested in museums but not in retail.
The strategy drove numerous operational and environmental improvements including a new grand entrance on Hans Crescent, a hall numbering address system, store directories listing hall numbers in vertical circulation areas, directional totems to orientate customers, a brand directory for each room, development of digital products and services, a new unmarked local customers’ entrance for fast access, naming all the escalators with the nearest entrance, renaming departments that were repetitive or unclear and staff training to aid communication of the new system to customers.
The new strategy has improved sales floor efficiency and radically improved overcrowding issues. Harrods believe the new system will provide a return on investment, improving sales and customer perceptions of the brand. Implementation across the entire store continues.
Alison Richings (wayfinding project director), Genevieve Smith (client manager), Jaimie Karsan (design strategist), Louisa Wood (graphic designer), Paul Garratt (product designer), Matthew Gray (technical manager)