How Halfords Drove Growth with a Marketplace and the Right Categories

November 1, 2016


To maximize sales, one tactic with your Marketplace is to focus on the core categories of your business, those that drive traffic and customer loyalty already. 

This strategic approach to categories has three benefits:

  1. It will provide existing customers with a much larger range of products
  2. It will increase your buyers’ chances of finding exactly what they are looking for
  3. It will also generate sales quickly as awareness is already strong for your brand within your category.

Focusing on your core categories will trigger the power of the virtuous cycle more rapidly.

To illustrate the importance of opening the right categories, we spoke with Nina Morris, Marketplace Manager at Halfords. The company is a British retailer of car parts, car enhancement, camping and touring equipment and bicycles operating in the UK and Ireland.

Halfords’ Marketplace achieved a successful launch thanks to a high number of sellers recruited in a just a few months coupled with a focus on carrying products they are famous for.

Halford’s started by expanding their cycling offers with 15,000 products, notably BMX bikes, Electric Bikes and Electric Ride Ons, which represent the most important part of their total sales revenue. Their core business categories are Cycling, Motoring, Leisure, Child Travel, Workshop & Tools, from which they launched the Halfords Marketplace.

What are the benefits of launching your Marketplace from your core business categories?

This allows Halfords to achieve several benefits. First, rapid range expansion in core categories where our customers already demand more brands and more innovative products.

For example, we were able to extend the current brand listing from Raleigh and increase the price points on offers within sub categories such as Electric Bikes.

Second, it allowed us to trial newer areas of products that we had previously never offered before. This provided us with data on product views, conversions and sales to establish any business cases to bring the products directly in house.

Ultimately the aim of the Marketplace is to identify winning products and bring them in house to offer our full Click & Collect proposition on or list in our stores.

Are you satisfied with your Marketplace performance?

Yes, the Marketplace has been successful in expanding product range with minimal risk. Customer support from Mirakl is very fast. The product is user-friendly and intuitive, allowing our business people to easily onboard new sellers.

Halfords Marketplace doubled its existing inventory in 6 months, adding 11 new subcategories, aligned with the global strategy. Among total Marketplace products, so far, Halfords has already identified 150 items to be fulfilled and sold directly by Halfords online as a result of their success.

Considering taking the same strategy as Halfords? Read why retailers need to launch their own Marketplaces.

Barry Murphy

Written by Barry Murphy

Barry Murphy is the Director of Content and Product Marketing at Mirakl. In this role, Barry leads the alignment of Mirakl's offerings to market needs for the next generation of online commerce. Barry previously ran product marketing organizations for X1 and Mimosa Systems (now part of HPE). Barry also had a highly successful stint as Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Barry received a B.S. from the State University of New York at Binghamton and an M.B.A from the University of Notre Dame.