Masters: Q&A with COO Melinda Smith
A new operation to enter the home improvement arena, Masters is the first warehouse-style DIY chain to take its offering online in Australia. We spoke to Masters’ COO Melinda Smith about the launch.
The development of the Masters offering seems like a massive undertaking in a very small amount of time. What kind of resources and skills were required to get the entire business rolled-out in the last two years?
It’s been a huge effort from a relatively small team over the last four years. Everything from property development, merchandising, operations, buying and marketing have all played a crucial role in getting the stores up and running. Our partner, Lowe’s, has also been enormously helpful as a source of knowledge and expertise.
How long has the new webstore been in the works?
We’ve been planning the web component since day one – Masters was always envisaged to be a full multi-channel brand.
Are any of your competitors offering their gear online yet?
No major competitors.
What do you think really sets Masters apart?
The low prices and great range – it’s been a great injection of competition into the sector that is already forcing other competitors to take a long hard look at their prices.
What kind of customer service and support will you offer via the website? Are there plans to increase this?
We envisage offering a lot of customer service, advice and interaction via the website – all of this will be incorporated over time. Customer service is one of Masters’ key values.
Where will you ship to for purchases made via the site?
Virtually every postcode in Australia.
Are there further developments planned for masters.com.au in the near future?
Yes – the site launch is just the first step. We will continue adding products and functionality.
Are there any products that can be supplied in store that you can’t offer online? Why is this?
At the moment the website offers about 25 percent of the store range but will eventually grow to exceed the range available in store
Obviously the online side of the things is important to your business, but why? What general trends can you point to that indicate it is necessary for a home improvement store to be online?
It’s the way customers increasingly want to shop – when, where and how they want. For home improvement, it’s fantastic to now be able to get all your home renovation products delivered to your doorstep.
Have there been many sales yet? Can you give me an indication of the sorts of numbers you are expecting to turnover?
We’ve been trialing the site with staff and have been very pleased with the sales so far. We don’t have specific sales targets for the online component of the business.