Builders Warehouse has opened its latest store in Boksburg, which was developed as a replacement to its former store.
The new 15 170 m2 box format store’s design entailed a new layout and look and feel, to align with Builders’ digitalisation and counter-driven strategy.
“The store delivers a retail experience through the combination of online integration, departmental adjacencies and new services that deliver seamless shopping for contractors and building professionals, as well as home and do-it-yourself customers,” CEO Llewellyn Walters said during a site visit on Tuesday.
These retail experience features include a “smart home” section that showcases the solutions that are possible to link devices and other smart technologies within a home, self-help screens that feature around 12 000 additional lines of products that can be browsed or ordered online and help desks that offer advice in all departments, for example insecticide guidance in the gardening section.
Walters explained that customers receive information about assembly or recommended installers once they buy an associated product. He added that customers can check out their purchases themselves, at any pay point in store or at the exit door – as well as at the exit outside when buying bulk items from the yard.
Builders was rolling out devices to facilitate purchases in-store, but with delivery to the customer within days. Walters noted that a virtual card is used at paypoints to give the customer an electronic receipt, which is also how the company facilitates the self check-out process.
“Through the card process, we emulate a ‘known customer journey’, effectively optimising our service offering and tailoring marketing to your buying habits.”
There is also a contractors’ counter that specifically aids building professionals with their required products and services.
INNOVATION IN STORE
The Boksburg store is one of a few that Builders has designated to offer three-dimensional printing capabilities. The services from this desk includes prototyping, printing domestic replacement parts and modelling.
The business model has expanded to incorporate several store-within-a-store concepts to give a complete hardware and do-it-yourself service experience. Some of the new features include a Vida e Caffè, adjacent to a meeting hub, making it convenient to host one-on-one or group meetings; key cutting which offers a new full service that will provide any type of key; and a first for Builders, the incorporation of a filtered water offering from Oasis Water giving customers choice from a range of water solutions such as bottled water, filtration systems and in-store refills.
Contractors and trade personnel will also enjoy the convenience of being able to hire tools from Talisman in-store.
Technology features prominently throughout the store and is enabled by free WiFi and 44 high-definition screens. This gives customers the opportunity to shop and place orders as well as view promotions and search for product information or inspirational do-it-yourself content.
Builders, together with Vodacom, will become a player in the growing home automation market. A full-service “smart home” hub will allow customers to tailor-make the digital integration that meets their residential requirements and budget.
The cut shop is another improved service, where customers have a central point for all cutting needs including board cutting and edging. Rounding off the new and enhanced service offering is the design and installation hub that provides an in-store design team to assist customers with the design of kitchens, bathrooms and roof trusses, for example, as well as installation of air-conditioners, ceiling fans and doors.
One of Builders’ new product innovations is the introduction of flatpack modular furniture. Builders offers a comprehensive range of complete furniture solutions. Displays in store show customers videos on the how-to assembly of the furniture.
Builders has also recently started offering in-store credit, which enables the smallest of budgets towards home improvement.
The Boksburg store is between 30% and 40% cheaper to operate, as it uses a combination of direct sunlight and light emitting diodes for lighting in-store, and the company harvests rainwater to use again, and has an efficient air-conditioning system that is not energy intensive.
Retrofitting of older stores will happen in order of priority and economic feasibility, with the Fourways and Gesina stores next in line for upgrades.
“We have reinvented hardware retail. We have raised the bar with innovation in a store itself,” boasted Walters.