Harrods boss Michael Ward said the department store had become a content creator by boosting its level of video and making strides in social media.

Speaking at Retail Week Live, the outgoing managing director of Harrods talked about the challenges of replicating its “theatrical” in-store experience, highlighting an example of customers being able to create an individualised fragrance at its dedicated perfume area, Salon de Parfume.

However, he said the retailer was attempting to engage online. “How do we engage our customers? We have become content providers. If we look at how we can engage [customers], we can prescribe what is hot or not, go to fashion shows and provide them with the very best trend reports on how fashion should be worn, and can transport our customers to the front rows of Paris, Milan, New York. We are starting to transfer that knowledge online.”

Ward said the retailer was using more video and providing “shoppable content”, enabling customers to buy by pressing a button or scanning using their mobile.

He added that content had to be unique, fun and engaging.

Ward said Harrods had invested in social media, trumping department store competitors in terms of followers across multiple platforms.

However, he warned that retailers needed to be ”be careful what you wish for”, adding there were costs associated with being online such as returns.

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