British online consumers will soon have something to show off about with hardware chain Bunnings launching its first ever online store in the UK, something which its home-based Australian consumers are yet to enjoy.
Following the company’s successful launch of its first Bunnings warehouse in the UK and Ireland on 2nd February this year, Wesfarmers owned Bunnings has confirmed it will launch a fully transactional UK online store within 18 months, which will tap into the Britain’s £38 billion-a-year DIY home improvement and garden market.
The company’s UK managing director Peter Davis addressed analysts last night, saying that in order to compete within the UK market, and following the Brexit bill, the hardware chain would need to make an online offering to its UK customers.
“Digital engagement is very important in the UK. We’ll have a transactional website within 18 months,’’ said Davis.
“We have to, in this market. My view is that it should be transactional within 18 months, is what I would be personally be aiming for, but we are not in a rush. We want to get it right and servicing the total UK and Ireland from an online business that doesn’t have a good spread of stores won’t produce the returns that we want.’’
Despite its planned move into e-commerce space in Britain, the company which is owned by Perth based conglomerate Wesfarmers Group, has not offered its Australian consumers the ability to buy online. Regardless of Wesfarmers’ execs decision not to provide Aussies with the option to buy from Bunnings online, the Bunnings website is still the sixth most viewed in the country.
Bunnings UK plans to invest up to £500 million rolling out the Bunnings Warehouse format in the UK and Ireland over the next three to five years.
Its first UK warehouse based in St. Albans is 67,000 square feet and employs 68 people, almost double the workforce of its previous Homebase store. A third of team members are aged over 50, and include former plumbers, painters, electricians and landscape gardeners, as well as other trades people, who are placed to offer customers a helping hand and expert advice on any home or garden project.
“A second Bunnings Warehouse store in Hatfield Road, St. Albans will open in April and we are on track to have at least four pilots up and running by the summer. We are laying strong foundations on which to build the Bunnings Warehouse business in the UK and Ireland for generations to come,” said Davis.
He added: “I don’t pretend for one moment that outdoor living is as significant in the UK as in Australia but we have had more success with barbeque and garden furniture than we originally expected” over the “dark months” of the winter.