// Halfords launches its new customer service-focused store concept in Essex
// The new concept encourages customers to engage with the products on offer directly
Halfords has unveiled a new customer-focused retail concept that connects its autocentre and cycling offerings, dubbed “the future of Halfords” by chief executive Graham Stapleton.
The new format, which has opened in Colchester, Essex, is designed to make it easier for customers to find the products and services they require across all its locations in the town.
Customers can be told which part of the outlet they should visit when they arrive at the store and its two garages in town, thanks to a welcome zone that has been erected at both sites.
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Services will be available from the car park of the store in Colne View Retail Park, including tyre-fitting, dedicated electric charging and a permanently fixed canopy that customers can visit for services such as sat-nav installation.
Virtual assistant screens are located throughout the store, while the new concept includes a live experience area to assist customers in learning more about the products they are interested in buying.
There is also a test and trial area for child travel products so parents can be certain they are purchasing the right product.
The store is set to be trialled in two other locations and has added an area for customers to see Halfords technicians build their future bicycles, as well as a kids’ bike zone where children can engage with the products face to face.
In the garages which can be found in the Angorra and Brooks business parks in the town, customer engagement is also the priority with a new service area offering a more immersive experience where shoppers can look into the workshop and track the status of their vehicle on screens while they wait.
Halfords has also added a new mobile expert van dedicated to the area and expanded its electric offering, which saw sales boom by 94 per cent last year.
Garage technicians can service electric cars, scooters and bikes, while Halfords mobile expert vans can offer similar services from customer’s homes.
Stapleton said: “We think of this new concept format as the future of Halfords; one where customer experience is seamlessly, consistently and conveniently executed across all locations in a town, and we are delighted to unveil it in Colchester.”