Bunnings goes 'fully online', launches store wayfinding app

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Bunnings goes 'fully online', launches store wayfinding app

Continues digital push amid pandemic.

Bunnings Group has expanded its online offerings, including the introduction of ‘click and deliver’, as part of an accelerated push into digital.

After launching its long-anticipated online offering at the end of last year, the Wesfarmers-owned hardware chain has now brought the “whole business fully online”.

It revealed the development in its full-year results on Thursday afternoon, with a “fully transactional website” introduced across Australia and New Zealand in the first half of 2020.

Managing director Michael Schneider said the website offered “click and collect, click and deliver, and drive and collect, a contactless option for customers to pick up their products”.

He did not indicate whether all the digital offerings were available before Australia began to feel the full brunt of the pandemic, though its core digital offering was already in place.

The improvement contributed to online sales, which increased a combined 60 percent to $1.5 billion across Wesfarmers' retail busineses, which also include Kmart, Target and Officeworks.

Wesfarmers put the increase down to the shift in “customer shopping preferences and enhanced digital offers”.

Bunnings' relatively nascent offering represents just 2 percent of overall revenue, according to Schneider, noting that this has increased since January.

“We've been seeing a steady increase in online [sales], and obviously, in the second half [of FY20], we were able to bring the whole business fully online,” he said.

“It’s picked up significantly in the second half because we had markets like New Zealand that didn't have online at all. 

“We [also] had markets like Western Australia that only had click and collect, not click and deliver.”

The retailer also introduced the Bunnings Product Finder app over the past half-year to help customers navigate its warehouses quickly during the pandemic.

The app has been developed to help customers “research and find the products they need in store, and help them to get in and out of our stores as quickly as possible”, Schneider said.

He said both the website and app were examples of where “innovation through data and digital accelerated throughout the year” to improve the customer experience.

“Particularly throughout the second half, our focus was on providing great service and making our digital offer relevant and convenient for customers, and making it even easier for them to access the products they needed during extended periods of time at home,” Schneider noted.

The focus on data and digital to respond to the pandemic also saw the retailer record “higher capital expenditure … from development of digital offerings”, though it did not carve out this number.

Bunnings also continued to improve the online experience for its trade customers, building on the creation of the Power Pass app.

Schneider said the “app was downloaded over 180,000 times throughout the [financial] year”, with a noticeable increase in downloads noticed during the second half, coinciding with COVID.

This builds on the approximately 700,000 tradies that were using the app and trade credit facility that allows ordering and also disintermediates payments, as at August 2019.

“The app includes a digital self-checkout option that enables trade customers to get in and out of stores and back on the road more quickly,” Schneider said.

Bunnings has also introduced new ways of training its team, incorporating the use of digital technology and live streaming learning modules where face-to-face contact is not possible.

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