Online British Couture

A peek inside the House of Fraser can almost make a Women's Wear Daily runway spread come to life and strut down the page. Coveted brands like Chanel, Estee Lauder, Prada and Max Mara are among the U.K.-based department store's couture offerings.

But the retailer's non-transactional Web site was only serving the needs of window shoppers. In late 2006, House of Fraser decided to bring the excitement of its stores to the desktop screen. But it wanted a site that could deliver high order traffic and provide online offerings that are as comprehensive as what is found in its largest stores. The site needed to properly represent those brands.

House of Fraser's new site,, was launched on the On-Demand E-Commerce Platform from Demandware. It helps expand the reach of the more than 300 designer brands that the couture retailer offers.

House of Fraser also uses the On-Demand E-Commerce Platform to achieve a visually-rich experience by implementing various Web 2.0 features. As part of the site re-launch, the retailer modified site navigation and focussed on delivering a brand-centric experience.

The retailer offers delivery throughout the U.K., free returns on online purchases to any House of Fraser store and a gift registry. The site also allows customers to purchase products (including flowers) that are not found in stores.

Following the full launch, the House of Fraser site exceeded order expectations during a multi-channel holiday promotions week, handling end-user traffic that was ten-fold above its holiday season averages. Offline marketing, including television ad campaigns and billboards,  have had a dramatic affect on online sales, says Peter Callaway, director of e-commerce, House of Fraser.
"Since the re-launch, the site has had more than 250,000 unique visitors, a significant increase as compared to the previous site."

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