Thorntons has begun a trial of kiosks which will allow shoppers to browse its online offer in store and is set to offer customers the ability to create their own hampers online.

Chief executive Jonathan Hart yesterday told Retail Week that the kiosks, which are being tested in three stores, allow shoppers to browse a wider range of products as well as larger items difficult to stock in store.

He said: “The kiosks allow us to bring our personalised products in store and offer a broader range of products including those at higher price points.”

The SmartPod kiosks, developed by technology firm One Iota, have been installed at the retailer’s Meadowhall and Fargate, Sheffield and Derby, Westfield stores where shoppers can order online and get products delivered home.

The range also includes personalised products such as its Alphabet Truffles and chocolate models on which customers can put their names.

Thorntons retail director Geoff Kershaw said: “We know that a significant proportion of our customers already shop us multi-channel and we’re hoping that these new SmartPods will make this even easier for them to do so.

“Many chocolate fans looking for the perfect gift aren’t aware of the fantastic range of hampers we sell online, so this trial will hopefully help us grow awareness of not only our extensive product range but also our overall online offering.”

Hart said that the retailer will complete a revamp of the functionality of its website, which had been scheduled for last Christmas, in the next two months. Thorntons will introduce a new service which will allow shoppers to build their own hampers in addition to its current bestselling pre-selected hamper offer.

In January, Thorntons said the delay in launching its revamped website as well as “operational issues” late last year had a “significant impact on sales” over Christmas.