Modern Retail

How Harts of Stur Is Combining Online and Offline

Harts of Stur

The award

The Good Retail Awards 2020’s Bricks ‘n’ Clicks Award recognised those utilising both online and offline channels to create a seamless customer experience. 

The winner

Cookware specialists, Harts of Stur demonstrated the importance of integrating all customer-facing platforms, both physical and digital, into a true omnichannel offering. Combining instore technology, an online presence and a themed campaign, Harts of Stur’s innovative ideas continue to excite new and existing customers.

The award-winning strategy

Modern Retail spoke with Graham from Harts of Stur about the way the business continues to stand out as a cookware specialist, through continuous improvements and technological additions.

The campaign

Harts of Stur have combined their use of online and offline channels to communicate a consistent theme and message which has excited new and existing customers. Celebrating 100 years as a family business in 2019, Harts of Stur created an omnichannel campaign which would tell their brand story, through three 100 day food-based themes; breakfast – the beginning, barbecues – entering retail and roast dinners – the ecommerce era.

Running instore themed events as well as creating inspirational tips, themed blogs, carefully curated products and centenary offers, customers online and offline were truly captivated. An example of their large presence is Harts of Stur being headline sponsor of their town’s international Boogie Woogie Festival, where they cooked 500 free Centenary burgers. Initiatives which have proven a success include free Centenary wooden spoons with online and instore purchases, introducing tablets instore for customers to browse online if they prefer, email, social media, local and national advertising campaigns. In addition to this, customers were sent a copy of Harts of Stur’s award-winning magazine, ‘Kitchen’, which also included advertising around the project.

The challenge

Graham explained the way retail has transformed over the 100+ years Harts of Stur have been running, as well as the importance of keeping up with trends, both online and instore.

He said: “There’s been continuous change. Technological advances are the main one because you can never stand still. Online trading is what everyone is doing and everyone is now able to focus online. People are somewhat reluctant to actually shop sometimes. You can even walk around shops now and find people walking around comparing prices. We’ve always tried to be at the forefront of tech. It’s been about catering to changing preferences and tying online into our instore offering. We have tablets and touch screen PCs instore. You have to think about which pieces of technology to trust. It’s exceptionally important to reach people in the ways they receive information, and to be different. With the power of online, anyone can buy anything from anywhere and you have to stand out from the crowd in a way people trust.”

The importance of standing out and being creative

Graham went on to talk about the ways Harts of Stur create an experience across all areas of business: “We’re all about offering honest customer service and being the best at what we do. Whether it’s selling or events, we work hard to make this happen and to be memorable. Our warehouses are right behind us, so if people want to see a certain size and colour of an item, we can get that exact specification out of the warehouse and show them it in person. If you come to us for a product, you come out with that product.

“We sat down and thought about what we could do and how we could get a proper story behind what we do. Celebrating 100 years, we decided to tell our story using the meals of the day as themes and we involved our marketing and web team with this.

“As well as knowing we have our warehouse there so you don’t have the typical issues of a desired product specification not being instore, we look to create memorable experiences. Our marketing department is honest and when we do a social post or event, there are no motives. It’s always about how it adds value to us for our customers. We’re currently investing in a cafe on our own premises so customers can enjoy more of an experience.”

On winning the Bricks ‘n’ Clicks Award

Graham commented on his experience: “It was very simple and easy to apply, so the whole process was smooth from start to finish. We did a press release to our local press and industry magazines have featured it too. The reception has been great!”

To see the full list of Good Retail Awards winners, click here

Holly Worthington

Holly Worthington

Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing. As Modern Retail's Content Editor, Holly is passionate about helping independent retailers to thrive in today's ever-changing market.