Harry & David pumps up brand, mobile, social to enhance customer experience

Nov. 9, 2017 | by Judy Mottl

Photo courtesy of Harry & David.

Take a quick peek at Harry & David's website refresh and the immediate response will be one of want and hunger, given the vibrant food and goodies on display. Even for those with a full belly, the desire to enjoy the offerings from fruit to chocolates will hit strong.

The gourmet gift retailer, founded in 1934 and which operates 46 year-round retail locations across the country, is hoping consumers will not only buy for themselves but share that "desire" by ordering such yummies as Moose Munch, wine, the fruit of the month club and all the other mouth-watering gift items within quick reach on the revamped website.

The website revamp is just one part of a multi-pronged retail brand upgrade by Harry & David, which operates 20 different orchards over 100 square miles. The refresh effort, which involved cross-functional teams throughout the Harry & David organization, launched this past January and completed in early fall.

A two-fold brand refresh objective

A big part of the strategy was pumping up online features and functionality to make gift giving easier for the harried holiday consumer and expanding and refreshing the retailer's social media presence.

"Our objective in updating the brand look was two-fold. We wanted to better reflect the rich heritage of the Harry & David brand and place a spotlight on the care that goes into creating its beloved gourmet food gifts," Steve Lightman, president of Harry & David, told Retail Customer Experience in an email interview.

"Our ongoing priority is to find new ways to elevate the online shopping experience for shoppers. We think the new brand immersive content on the site helps us do just that, while also building deeper connections with customers," he added.

The list of new online functions includes popular categories that show the entire product line; the ability to view both online and print catalog order history in one place; and a new corporate gifting portal designed specifically for B2B customers.

Shoppers can add and send up to 100 different gifts, all from the same cart, to separate recipients—a big expansion from the previous limit of 20 recipients. Customers can also now use Apple Pay and PayPal in a mobile checkout scenario. Harry & David is also now providing online order tracking and sending customers timely information on shipping status.

The new quick payments options are all about the retailer's quest to invest and innovate to elevate the shopping experience, said Lightman.

"We want to ensure we are easily accessible whenever, wherever and however customers choose to shop with us," he said, explaining that prior to the refresh there was no dedicated B2B e-commerce portal, so B2B shoppers would shop the same website as consumers.

"This new corporate gifting portal is a fully transactional e-commerce platform specifically designed for our business clients to offer a more comprehensive shopping experience. We have included product collections for various business gifting occasions, including "thank you," service anniversaries, employee recognition and more," Lightman said, noting that business customers can take advantage of personalization options, such as branding products with their company name or logo.

"The portal offers a one-stop-shop for business gifting complete with options to open a corporate account, order forms to download and easy connection to our sales consultants," he added.

Telling stories to engage consumers

All total, it's the most comprehensive brand update in years for the gourmet food and gift enterprise which is touting the enhanced experience as #HappinessDelivered across social media, along with a #BehindThePears campaign. The latter marketing effort, running through the end of the holiday season, is focused on telling the "story" about Harry & David's and the journey of its iconic Royal Riviera pear — from how it's grown to how it's packed for market to how it's delivered to the consumer.

"We have some terrific multi-media content that shows a behind-the-scenes look at the recent pear harvest, for example, as well as ongoing features such as our "Harvest Report," which lets customers know which fruit is ripe and ready to ship," said Lightman.

The story of the Royal Riviera Pear is historical to the retail brand given it was introduced when the brand launched over 80 years ago, explained Lightman.

"So putting pears front and center for our brand relaunch seemed like the perfect place to start.  Still today, customers eagerly look forward to when our pears are ready to be shipped.  Beyond our website, we're using our social media channels to amplify the rich history of the brand and the care that goes into creating Harry & David products," he said.

Responding to customer wants and needs

The refresh, said Lightman, was prompted by several factors, including meeting new consumer expectations.

"Ease of shopping is key, but more and more customers are looking for brand experiences. That's why it's important that we continually look for ways to enhance the customer experience to make it not only convenient, but also rewarding for consumers to shop with us," he said.

Harry & David hears from its customers and listens — some of its most loyal customers, for example, share how much they still enjoy receiving the retailer's catalogs via the mail. Others have made the jump to the digital experience and enjoy the online shopping channel.

"So, one of the most important changes we made as part of our brand refresh was to our online gift list," said Lightman, and "new features allow customers to view their online and print catalog order history together in one place, add gift recipients and shop for new items to include on their list."

Going forward, Harry & David intends to keep listening to its customers and scoping out new ways and new technologies to boost the customer experience, whether it's online or via its catalogs. But Lightman politely declined to name anything specific in play.

"All we can tell you is stay tuned," he said. "We continually look for ways to innovate in areas that help elevate the shopping experience for gift givers."


Topics: Consumer Behavior, CRM, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Digital Merchandising, eCommerce, Gift Registry, Marketing, Merchandising, Mobile Payments, Mobile Retail, Omnichannel / Multichannel, Online Retailing, POS, Shopper Marketing, Social Media, Specialty Stores, Technology



Judy Mottl

Judy Mottl is an experienced editor, reporter and blogger who has worked for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews. She’s written everything from breaking news to in-depth trends. She loves a great pitch so email here, follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.

wwwView Judy Mottl's profile on LinkedIn

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