A Hume Makes Online & Offline Shopping Seamless

retail storefront Meet A Hume, a family-run country clothing and footwear store dating back to 1929. Based in the small Scottish town of Kelso, the business has grown from serving Kelso locals to serving country clothing enthusiasts globally.

Simply put, A Hume is a retail shop with history and tradition.

Although A Hume also operates online, they still pride themselves in the attention to detail and high standard of customer service that brought success to the business in the first place. In fact, their brand values specifically put emphasis on the highest standard of customer service possible:

Our brand values are simple. Bring together a range of country clothing of the highest quality. Offer the very best advice and service based on over eighty five years experience and do it with consistency, passion and commitment. Archie Hume
Managing Director at A Hume

Putting Customer Service in Priority

A Hume is a retail shop that also adopted technology for growth - one of them being an online store. Whether it’s online or offline, they treat each customer with the same standard of customer service.

For example, every customer can receive a free alterations service from the in-house seamstress, regardless of whether or not they’ve bought the item online or in-store.

This kind of service isn’t for show - it has practical business benefits as well.

We’re always delighted to welcome our online customers to our stores, and often these online customers make the journey to Kelso purely to visit one of our shops, which is an absolute delight and reflects the customer loyalty that we’ve managed to establish. We take pride in fulfilling special requests for both online and offline customers.

Customer loyalty is often neglected by the management, but A Hume is different. They have a process to build it and develop a lasting relationship with all their visitors. It’s no wonder they’ve been growing in both online and offline.

retail storefront

Optimizing Seamless Online and Offline Experiences

A Hume focuses on both the online and offline experience.

One example of improving the online experience is using original product pictures. By using original pictures and imagery on their website, A Hume sets themselves apart from the numerous other online stores.

They do not use stock images provided by suppliers, while many other retailers often do. Just by this simple act of making things more “personal”, customers can pick A Hume apart from their competitors.

Not only are the pictures original, but they often reflect much of the imagery used in the stores.

The point is to make the online shopping experience as close to shopping at their physical location - to ensure that their website properly reflects the same feel of their stores.

While traditionally working offline, A Hume has taken on the challenge of adopting technology to provide the best customer experience to all.

The floor staff also took on the mentality to provide a great customer experience rather than putting heavy focus on hitting targets. Naturally, great customer experience leads to great sales.

retail storefront

Technology on the Sales Floor Improves Sales

A Hume has done something that other businesses are afraid to attempt: implement technology on the sales floor.

With thousands of software advertising to do things you don’t quite understand, it’s hard to even narrow down the choices. A Hume took on the challenge to fulfill one goal: make the online and offline experience seamless.

The iPads on the sales floor resolve these issues.

The idea and implementation is simple. Customers went into the stores to take a closer look at the items that they’d seen on the website but couldn’t recognize them at the stores. With the iPads, customers could easily load up the item on the website and show the staff which item they were referring to.

Customers are delighted with the iPads, and use them frequently to find products on our website. It’s a much easier way to browse our selection rather than having to trawl through racks to find what they’re looking for.

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Customer Service First - The Results

As A Hume continues to try and provide each customer with the best customer service and experience, business has only gone up.

  • Online customers have returned to the retail shops more frequently.
  • Increases in email open rates.
  • Increase in brand searches through Google.
  • Happier and more receptive customers.
  • More returning customers overall.

Deciding on which technology to use to improve on existing practices is easy, once you have the right mindset. A Hume proves that implementing such customer service-oriented ideas into practice can bring great profits.

You don’t need a complicated system or an expensive software. You don’t need to pay thousands for hardware, or for servers. A simple system like what A Hume has set up, or a simple visitor sign-in system like Qminder can reap benefits.

Future Plans for A Hume

Currently, A Hume has plans on improving the website for a better online shopping experience.

This includes redesigning the website to be more responsive and mobile-friendly. Another challenge to overcome is the seasonal high influx of customers during winter months. They must calculate and forecast how many more staff they would need.

When a retail business has queues, it’s a great sign of a thriving business - especially when 55% of online shoppers would rather buy from a merchant with a physical store than from an online-only retailer.

But businesses must also understand that managing the queue or walk-ins is critical, as customers value time above all else.

If you make customers feel like they are being valued, you may have closed the sale based on that alone.

On the other hand, if you fail to make customers feel valued…

…this can lead to not only missing the sale…

…but also negative reviews or losing sales within their social circle.


Do you want your own business to grow and last a century like A Hume? Visit the Qminder Blog to find out more about customer service, customer experience and for more of these success stories.

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