The Bunnings Warehouse garden centre area at their pilot St Albans store provided plenty of new ways of displaying plants and products as well as some surprising new product lines and new suppliers to the UK market, when GTN Xtra made a visit yesterday.
There are not any traditional plant benches, instead creative use of concrete blocks and metal shelving form tiered plant displays from the floor right up to eye level, with bold hand written price labels. “We are aiming to be the lowest price retailer,” they told GTN Xtra.
Colour blocked displays of pots surround the plant area, which has a wider range of plants than stocked at Homebase previously with garden sundries also outside in the covered planteria.
An extensive growing media sales and storage area is adjacent to possibly the widest range of garden decoration/landscaping products we’ve seen in either DIY stores or garden centres. Creative screening, tiled options for play areas, new ideas for vertical growing.
The Bunnings buying team have clearly been working hard to find product differentiation. Whites and The Organic Gardening Company from Australia are the most prominent new suppliers, along with products from UK based Sprout Gardening (their barcodes relate to Apollo Gardening). They are backed up by products from Westland – Smart Ground Cover in stock, Scotts Miracle-Gro – Black Magic Potting Compost on display, Briers, Mr Fothergills, Hozelock, Kelkay, Elho, Outback, Landmann, Panacea, Veg Trug, Fiskars, Spear & Jackson, Qualcast and Stewart.
Inside the store it has much more of a warehouse feel. High shelving units packed with products and even BBQ’s and spa baths displayed up high above them around the edges.
As for prices, Bunnings are making a 10% lower guarantee, refunding the difference and an extra 10% of anyone buys the same product elsewhere.
Staff, as ever make the final difference when it comes to customer service. At Bunnings St Albans yesterday there were staff everywhere, possibly three or four times the number you’d have expected to find in a Homebase previously. With a big focus on training – the number of badges on their aprons indicates the in house and supplier training courses they have completed – some of the staff present were on secondment from other stores getting ready for the next stage of the roll out.
GTN now looks forward to re-visiting the store as the season progresses. In the meantime enjoy our photo gallery below…
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