A panel discussion at the Global DIY Summit brought together leading figures in the industry to address the topic: ‘Challenges for a New Kind of Cooperation between Retailers and Suppliers’


he panel discussion was moderated by Insight Retail Group’s Steve Collinge. In his opening address

he said: “20 years ago, to enter the home improvement market you needed to buy a store, or rent a store, or lease a store. You needed to have staff, you needed to pay for heating – it was complex, expensive, and it was very difficult to start with noth- ing. Today, those barriers of entry are gone. I believe that probably you need about £10,000, four weeks, and you can start being a player in this market. Start investing in Google and you can be up there on that first page alongside major retailers and competing against them. The barriers to entry just aren’t there anymore.

The differentiators have changed. 20 years ago, retailers had these levers to play with: range, price, promotion, location, service, product. These were the toolbox for home improvement retailers every single day. In 2018, unless you’re exclusive, you are probably going to be beaten on price by somebody online. Range, is now irrelevant. There is no point in opening stores and saying ‘we are going to have the widest range’ because you won’t. From day one, you won’t. Promotion is now smoke and mirrors. Now too many consumers, particularly millennials, can see through these high-discounted promotions. People don’t believe them anymore and you cannot continue to use that. And location is irrelevant now. It doesn’t matter where your store is, people

will choose to buy from what suits them and not what suits you. The toolbox has changed; it is now

bigger, there are new differentiators for retailers to have to engage with. You must be engaging with consumers at every stage of that purchase process, right the. They should be inspired – giving them the ideas that ultimately make them specifically come to your stores because of your expertise. And services, doing the job for them – make it simple, make it easy, and give them choices.

New formats are growing and taking business, international expansion, and pressure is building on the big box retailers. And yet, the change is only just begun. The changes we have seen so far have been caused by us, and our age group. Millennials are about to enter their

prime spending age, and their unique buying experiences will change. People will always care about their homes and gardens, they always want lovely homes and lovely gardens – let’s remember that. Technology has created new opportunities, new categories are appearing for us, like the connected home, the smart home, and every now again we see something from a store that makes us think ‘I would buy from there, that makes me want to go back there’.

Digital transformation – what has happened in your business so far to deal with the current challenges in the market? Kingfisher CEO Véronique Laury, was the first to respond, saying: “I have been in this industry for exactly 30 years. Digital transformation is a huge part of the transformation process at Kingfisher, which we are right in the middle of.

“It’s all about technicality of the website, and you have the opportunity to be with the customer alongside their journey in a way that

29 JUNE 2018 DIY WEEK 9

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