B&Q’s PR firm has come through with more detail and photos and, with thanks to Emma Gullick at design agency Phoenix Wharf (www.phoenix-wharf.com) for her photos and insights, we can now paint a more detailed picture of what this new concept really means.
B&Q’s aim was to “dramatically enhance” its end-to-end customer shopping experience, particularly around lighting, paint, home decor, tiling, bathrooms and kitchens which have been the areas most heavily invested in.
The new concept is the first of four stores trialling a combination of the best elements of DIY from across the Kingfisher group and is the result of close cooperation between B&Q and Castorama, B&Q’s sister company in France.
Michael Loeve, CEO at B&Q, acknowledges the significance of the new store and the elements it is trialling when he says: “This newly upgraded store will play a significant role in how we, and the rest of the Kingfisher, shape our stores of the future.”
The other three stores in the project will open in 2016, in France, Poland and Russia.
In her online appraisal of the modern and clean looking new store, retail designer Emma Gullick notes it is easier to find your way around the new store thanks to its racetrack layout, its broad aisles and high level signage, along with maps at regular intervals.
There is also a dedicated entry for click & collect and returns and an adjacent café that may tempt customers further in-store. Placed at the front of the main store, the worth of having such a café has already been proven around the world of home improvement retailing.
As well as consultation, hospitality and seating areas, departments are festooned with ideas, tips and tools, to the point where product samples are displayed alongside each other and labelled to aid both purchasing and product comparison.
Now this may be a big leap for B&Q with its former stack em high and watch em fly outook, and it’s as clean and coherent a makeover we we’ve seen lately – but is it a paradigm shift for DIY retailing in general?
Apart from the high level of consistency of branding through the store, inside and out, we suggest not really – what do you think? We’d love to hear from our better travelled readers.
Now browse the photos on the accompanying pages (thanks again to Phoenix Wharf for most of them!) to get a fuller view of just how far B&Q has come from its previous retail outlook…
Below: Dedicated click & collect entry and desks, adjacent to the café which itself leads into the store.
Below: Wayfinding has been brought bang up to date through the interior and exterior of the store.
Below: Easy references on informative yet attractive displays offer simple ways to compare, sample or purchase products.