“There might be differences, for instance there are retailers that are more open, there are retailers that are less open but it’s about understanding what the retailers require. We work with many different brands so the ultimate decision is made by the retailer, we can help, we can offer our support, and this is what we are about. “Of course it is about how much

Kingfisher CEO Véronique Laury

like, and how can we help them along their journey?’, This is a big part of what we have been doing because, not only are we a paint manufacturer, but we try to help our retailer customers to build their brand and develop it, so this has been a major focus and a very interesting one.” President of Robert Bosch Power

Tools, Henning von Boxberg said Bosch is focusing strongly on catering to the needs of users: “For us, transformation is a huge topic. We are first and foremost starting to understand what the real users’ needs are. We are very user-focused but now, with digitalisation, it is a completely new lead because now we will have all our products connected, which means that, from a connectivity front, we know exactly how our users operate when using our products. “Before, it was a lot of observation and market research, but now we have millions of products that are IT equipped and that gives us the opportunity to know exactly how they are using it, so therefore, we can improve our quality and we can improve our design; we can basically tailor our offer based on how the product is used. “Secondly, we need to be well

prepared for this evolution, which means we need to set up an ecosystem for our DIY users, and we would like to bring this all together. [On using data and information]

“We actually would be able to tell whether you are a beginner, whether you are already quite advanced, or if you are an expert [with Bosch products], and also we would offer you products that are tailored to your skill set, so we would not offer a starter product to a highly skilled DIY-er because that would not make any sense. We know exactly what the consumer is doing, and we’re learning.” Storch-Ciret Holding mnaging

director Dr Sven Wilhelm highlighted some key transformation points in the

business, he said: “For us it is about new products, new services, new innovation, and also consolidating how we as a brand are being perceived by our customers. And I think, focused as we currently are on buying into huge investments, we are also building the infrastructure on our IT and database so we are really ready to offer the right services in the future. A huge thing for us is common product information management database, all of those kinds of things that from my perspective are very important enablers that will allow us to enter a new phase of operation and will push us in the right direction. Getting the right infrastructure to prepare us for what might come in the future is a very important part of our transformation at the moment.” Vice President and general manager 3M construction and home improvements market division, Jeffrey Lavers, said: “I think it all starts with the customer’s journey. I think an important aspect for all of us is that journey is transforming at a very rapid pace, and I think digitalisation and use of data is going to be critical in that. As a supplier, another aspect is to apply rich content in addition to the product, so if we’re thinking about the customer’s journey then you have to explore and map out what they do; we have an obligation to have some rich content in that. We spend a lot of our time really trying to understand the consumer, and how they can ultimately make a decision from the retailer perspective and there is a beautiful intersection for us to focus on and I think at the end of the day it is simple for that to work.”

How do the suppliers match up to what is required from them from a retailer’s perspective?

Mr Ostendorf said: “For us, it is very deeply built into our DNA. Our business is about serving customers, so it has a lot to do with our partnerships and understanding what our strategy is and what our requirements are.

29 JUNE 2018 DIY WEEK 11

we are able to help in order to make our retail plan successful, because this determines our success, so in this regard the operation is extremely important because there are a lot of resources in our business but before maybe this hasn’t been 100% utilised, and there is a lot more potential to get together and develop things together and that way we can really profit from each other and serve the customers, because at the end of the day, this is what we are all about.” Mr Lavers thinks the skills and capabilities of both retailer and supplier should be collaborated, and if working harmoniously together, it is the perfect recipe for success, he said: “It’s an enhanced experience that is greater than if you tried to do them independently. So one of

our efforts is going to be focusing on, first and foremost, understanding the richness of our retailer’s needs, aligning out assets so that they are in tune with them but at the same time bringing the perspective that we have with our technologies and our capabilities and allow us to go beyond that to really elevate them to the next level. I think that can really be opportunistic for the future if we look at this with a deeper understanding that we can recognise that together we are stronger. Independently from that we are not as strong.” Mr Wilhelm said “They both outline two factors, where there is a bigger focus on data, and the value of the customer experience in the future, I think these are both something we have to correctly operate together more to find out what, in the end, the customer’s really want. And another thing is innovation, that’s exactly what it is about, let’s try things together. Try. Fail. Try other things. This is something that will bring us all forward in what is shaping into a success story in the future, and for that personally, I think most of the suppliers are open to working together with retailers for that.”

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