Kingfisher launches GoodHome brand

Steve Collinge from the Insight Retail Group analyses the GoodHome brand following its official launch by Kingfisher, and the reveal of their first ‘GoodHome by B&Q’ new concept store, which opened in the UK at the end of May.

According to Kingfisher, GoodHome will provide a simpler way of helping home improvers, their helpers and professionals, with projects either large or small. Three years into their five year plan, this move marks the latest step in Kingfisher’s transformation. Since 2015, the business has unified its supply chain, developed a wide range of new products and services, and invested in an improved digital and omnichannel experience.

GoodHome will now bring this innovation to customers for the very first time, both through the new format stores and through the GoodHome brand which is beginning to appear across multiple product categories in B&Q including paint, bathrooms and shortly kitchens.

“A new way to shop”

The business has begun trialling the first GoodHome convenience store, which provides a new way to shop for the most frequent home improvement projects, inspiration and advice from a team of skilled colleagues, as well as an effortless digital shopping experience.

The first store opened in the south east in Wallington, near Croydon with apparently more express store trials due to open in the UK and in France under the GoodHome by Castorama brand later this year. The high street location in Wallington is a new build, originally ear-marked for a new Screwfix opening, before being chosen as the first global location for the GoodHome brand. The 5,500 sq. ft store is located just two and a half miles from the nearest B&Q Warehouse in Sutton and only three miles from the Croydon  Warehouse.

The store looks bright and fresh, is laid out with an ‘express ordering’ section on the right-hand side, one for consumers and then a different one for trade, a ‘Project Help’ section on the left and in the middle the collection desk. The ‘Project Help’ section is dominated by a paint chip display, showcasing the Valspar paint mixing range and paint related product displays. Paint is at the heart of many home improvement projects and the new store offers a paint mixing counter where customers can create bespoke colours on site, as well as pick up pre-mixed colours. A key cutting service is also available on site and featured brands for the trade include; DeWalt, Makita, Site, Bosch, Stanley, MK, Wylex, Mapei, Blue Circle, Thistle and Erbauer.

400 Purchase Journeys

Over the last few years the Kingfisher team has been busy analysing the extent of customer visits made to their existing stores and interestingly have identified a total of around 400 individual journeys which relate to specific projects. Think of it another way, 400 reasons why customers would shop in a bigbox store like a B&Q or Castorama store. This covers everything at one end of the scale from the simplest projects such as the purchase of a replacement light bulb or tap-washer, through to every kind of painting and decorating project, to laying a floor, installing a new kitchen or bathroom, through to building a new extension or even a completely new house.

Of the 400 purchase journeys identified, the 120 simplest are catered for by this new GoodHome concept, with the 6,000 products required to fulfil those projects available for  immediate purchase, collection or home delivery. This core range of products are available for same day delivery, with an extended range of over 20,000 products for bigger projects, available (in some cases) for same day or next day Click and Collect in store or home delivery.

In my view this is probably the smartest element of the entire project. I have been arguing for some time that consumers shop by project, by task to complete, not by product  category. The only reason Home Improvement stores are laid out by category is firstly to ease navigation when entering a huge big-box store and secondly because that’s how the retailers organises their own businesses, they’ve always done it that way, with buying, sales, margin reports and even market-share data all categorised by product group.

Back to Wallington, where the overall ordering and collection process is more akin to a McDonalds than a Screwfix, which is not a bad thing. If a customer knows what they want, for a quick fix home improvement project for example, the big screens give you immediate access to 6,000 products, with the ordering, payment and collection process swift, efficient and within the five minutes they claim. No more long walks up and down the aisle of a big-box store to find the product is then out of stock!

Large Projects

For anyone unsure of the products they need for a project, – which I would say includes a large proportion of Home Improvement shoppers, they have two options.

1) Move to the screens on the left of the store in the Project Help area, where you have access to and the 20,000+ products available or

2) Ask one of the 16 members of staff. For those needing help and advice, experienced B&Q colleagues will be on hand in the specially created customer area to discuss projects  over a free cup of coffee.

The store colleagues operate either as stock/logistics experts, handling and picking the product from the Screwfix style warehouse at the back or as ‘enthusiasts’, front of store service to help customers find what they want. It’s worth mentioning here that the business has also created a GoodHome Academy to train all their store colleagues.

Taking the store to the customers

Kingfisher know that with Screwfix they have a market leading logistics and digital powerhouse, which continues to leave the competition standing. It’s exactly the same back-end system that is powering the GoodHome business, it’s the Screwfix engine, but with a warm, cuddly and welcoming face. It’s also good to know that it’s Kingfishers’ intention to run GoodHome stores with the same cost efficiency that has catapulted Screwfix in the last few years to become almost as profitable as B&Q from less than half the turnover.

The Kingfisher team refer to GoodHome as being part of a broader ‘eco-system’ where the smaller format stores in high-density locations, support and feed-off the larger B&Q warehouses in the area, in this case Sutton and Croydon. When you think about it like that, this new concept makes absolute sense. If fewer consumers are visiting the big-box stores due to a whole host of reasons from on-line competition to millennials not owning a car, through to the expected limitations of help or service, then why not take the store to the customers and deliver the ultimate in DIY convenience.

Time will tell whether this new format will be a success. But the tantalising combination of the Screwfix logistics engine, combined with almost instant product availability and the help
and support of enthusiastic store staff if you need it, we could just be watching the future of Home Improvement retailing unfold before our very eyes.