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Brief Published: 2 Jun 2017

Improving DIY Retail: B&Q’s New Digital Strategy

B&Q is hoping to make its digital services, such as its kitchen design tool B&Q Spaces, more immersive and inspirational

In a bid to beef up its digital engagement, British DIY retail chain B&Q is focusing on browser-based geo-location, virtual reality experiences and in-aisle payments. It follows disappointing trials of in-store kiosks – which shoppers tended to use only when aided by staff – and a consumer-facing mobile app focused on in-store connections, underused because most B&Q shoppers visit the store infrequently.

Context-Aware Mobile Deals with Simpler Questions

While 81% of people use their phone in-store, B&Q discovered they’re more likely to use the mobile site than the app. It’s introducing geo-location technology to the site to help people find products via a store map sensitive to the shopper’s location. The aim is to free up staff, allowing them to assist on bigger, more expertise-necessitating projects.

Kirsten Taylor, B&Q’s head of digital experience said: “Customers ask a lot of questions in store, most often about locating products. We’re aiming to remove the simple questions by using these devices.”

The retailer has also rolled out an ‘assisted selling’ tool for staff, allowing access to in-depth product information. Next up is a new point-of-sale system enabling customers to pay in-aisle for products on a store tablet.

Hyper-Reality Store Inspiration

Echoing the ‘hyper reality’ of the tech-fuelled concepts described in Lowe’s Haptic-VR DIY Skills Clinic and US Homeware Brands Embrace AR/VR, B&Q is also developing more robust inspiration-based store sections to enhance more emotional, big-ticket purchases such as new kitchens or bathrooms.

For more on the future of DIY retailing, see Redefining DIY: Part 1 & Part 2.