Best Of

The Best UK Department Stores

We've got the scoop on the best shopping perks offered across the pond!

With all the great luxury department stores out there, it can be hard to choose which one to give your hard-earned money to. It’s important that your store of choice gives you the most bang for your buck while also providing you with a pleasant experience, on and offline.

My last post covered some of the best perks of high-end American department stores, but I know there are also plenty of great shops around the world. Since we are a diverse bunch here on PurseBlog, I began to wonder what the luxury shopping situation was like for users across the pond.

Stores such as Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, and Liberty seem to be top choices for those who love to buy lux, so here are the best of the best when it comes to British luxury department stores.

Best Rewards Program

Winner: Harvey Nichols

When it comes to choosing the best rewards system, it’s important to consider not only the number of redeemable points that shoppers can earn but also any extra benefits that might make their overall shopping experience worthwhile.

Technically, Liberty London has the best point system with 5 points for every £1 spent; however, Harvey Nichols came out on top for two reasons: a lower spending threshold to make it out of the beginner tier compared to those of other stores and the customers’ ability to choose their own benefits based on their needs.

After spending £500 (so, one handbag) the customer enters the second tier of the five-level rewards program. At this level, they will earn 2 points for every £1 spent and can pick two of any of the following perks:

  • 4x double point booster
  • 10% off food & wine
  • Free drink in store
  • Kids under 12 years of age can eat for free
  • A birthday gift
  • 10% off select bars and restaurants
  • 10% off grooming and beauty services
  • Free delivery

There are a few other benefits available to those in higher tiers, but Harvey Nichols seemed to have made a conscious effort to make their lower-tier customers feel just as special as the big spenders. We love to see it!

Best Events

Winner: Harrods

Best is definitely subjective when it comes to events, but since Harrods is known for them, the ranking shouldn’t really surprise anyone.

The five-acre Knightsbridge location hosts numerous events throughout the year, and with more than 300 different departments, that’s a lot of events! The events vary in size and exclusivity but are a dream for anyone who also has interests outside of just fashion and beauty.

Whether you’re a lover of tech, books, cigars, fine art, or furniture, there will likely be an event for you. Members have the opportunity to meet n’ greet with influential figures from every field, pursue pop-up shops of designer labels from around the world, create their own bespoke perfume, and even test out the latest techno gym equipment!

It’s easy to spend many hours (if not the whole day) at Harrods, and some customers have reported that they often do. But hey, I guess a gal’s gotta do something while waiting on the rain clouds to pass.

This American is majorly jealous.

Best for E-Commerce

Winner: Selfridges

In this day and age, having clean and easy-to-navigate e-commerce channels is necessary for any store looking to maximize its profits and reach the most customers possible. The quality of a website or mobile app can absolutely make or break a store’s reputation. Nobody likes a cluttered website or buggy app and with so many competitors looking to gain loyalty from the same clientele, being slow to adapt is a surefire way to fall behind.

All of the UK stores have great desktop sites, but there were two that either didn’t have a mobile app at all (Liberty) or only have one for shoppers outside of the UK (Harvey Nichols, from what I can see). This meant the main competitors in this category were Harrods and Selfridges. Selfridges wins for a few reasons:

Its mobile app is said to have fewer problems than Harrods’, the desktop site is easier to navigate and requires far less scrolling to find important product info, and its own delivery program called Selfridges+.

With Selfridges+, customers can pay a one-time fee for their deliveries for the entire calendar year. For UK and EU residents, paying £11 (€18) will get unlimited standard and next day deliveries inside the UK or unlimited standard delivery to EU countries. No minimum order value is required, and all returns are free.

International jet setters or those living outside the UK and EU can pay £40 (€66) for unlimited global delivery. The only drawback is there is a minimum order value requirement of £40, and local currency conversion rates do apply. Still sounds like a great deal to me, though!

But tell me, which British department store is your favorite?


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