British Home Stores, popularly known as BHS, was a mainstay of British high streets and shopping centres for over eighty years. Since the closure of its stores, however, the brand has been reborn and transformed online.
Relaunching in October 2016, the new and improved "British Home Store" has seen tremendous success including a 35% sales spike in its second quarter. BHS specialises in lighting, homeware and fashion with its womenswear division sky rocketing by 350% during the quarter.
Today, The British Home Store is part of BHS International (UK) Limited, which was created in June 2016 by the Al Mana Group, which acquired the International franchise business and BHS brand. Recognising a large, loyal customer base and supportive public sentiment, it was quickly decided that BHS needed to get back online, fast.
Although the company had formed a dedicated fanbase over almost 90 years, if it took too long to get BHS.com up and running, customer interest and passion for the company could have been lost. Al Mana Group had bought the domain name/web rights but almost nothing else was in place to begin trading, so the challenge was to launch a brand new site in just six weeks! Time was most definitely of the essence.
To relaunch successfully online, BHS needed to create a robust modern platform, which was scalable and open to new markets. Particularly with its tight deadline, BHS needed an ecosystem of partners to help it prepare for relaunch. This is where it found Greenlight Digital, the SAP Hybris digital commerce software company, which assured them that they could develop a functioning website within mere weeks.
To appeal to a global market, the BHS team needed to create a digital experience complete with multiple currencies and payment method options. Dissatisfied with technical restrictions from its previous supplier, BHS needed to find a superior payments provider that could fulfil its service requirements.
Kevan Mallinder, Managing Director, BHS, claims that “the solution to our problems was to have a start-up mentality. We had to find the software company that would be the best fit, and find a winning payments provider to ensure the checkout platform was seamless, ensuring our customers feel safe and secure when purchasing their goods.”
Greenlight Digital introduced the BHS team to Ingenico with high praise and the company selected credit card, debit and PayPal payment options.
BHS has the option to add European payment methods where required and is supported by Ingenico’s powerful fraud screening services, which reduce fraud, maximise approvals, minimise chargebacks and reduce operational cost, while ensuring a smooth online shopping experience for customers.
Mallinder continues: “Considering the timescale challenges we faced, we needed third parties to be as assertive in delivering on objectives as we were. While our chosen partners were very technically capable, we were mindful of allowing them the space to do what they needed to get our payments up and running quickly and securely.”
BHS trusted the Ingenico team to ensure that tokenisation would be executed by building the functionality into the Hybris Platform by the launch date, and the implementation process was seamless.
The ecosystem of partners working together to create a functional, reliable and scalable website has seen enormous success. The brand relaunched on schedule, just in time for Christmas and sales have soared in 2017, with first-time shoppers representing two-thirds of customers during the 35% Q2 sales boom.
The company has been able to refine internal processes and focus on user experience to capture the UK market share again, and is on track to grow further now that it has redefined its position as a leading brand.