Bunnings Doubles-Down with Online Offering

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 14 Oct 2019

Bunnings has taken a step further to beat the Amazon competition by doubling-down its online offering. How will Amazon react, and is it too late for Bunnings?

Earlier in September, Amazon Australia announced the introduction of its new Home and Garden category, a clear projection toward Bunnings. “Our new garden store has a range of enticing outdoor products from gardening equipment to pool supplies to patio furniture to BBQs,” said Rocco Braeuniger, Amazon Australia’s Manager. “Our garden store adds to the over 125 million products already available on Amazon.com.au, underscored by great value and fast delivery.”

While there’s a promise of fantastic prices, fast delivery and a huge range of products, many Aussie shoppers weren’t as convinced. “Bunnings is an institution in (sic) oz,” said one Twitter user, “Bunnings is way too popular for that and to be honest, there are plenty of online businesses that have been selling gardening equipment etc for years. Amazon does not have the monopoly on online selling.” said another.

What is Bunnings Doing Differently?

Bunnings has not settled down as Amazon has entered the space. It has, instead, doubled-down on its online offering. The Wesfarmers’-owned company will introduce another 60,000 products to its click and collect initiative which was introduced earlier in 2019. Moreover, it’s also throwing a brand new marketplace int the mix.

The marketplace, named Marketlink, offering more than 8,000 home and garden goods, available for purchase to consumers. Some of the products include white goods, kitchen appliances, home entertainment and kitchenware, items that are not currently available to purchase in-store.

“We’ve had a very positive response from sellers and we already have more than 8000 products ready for launch on Marketlink in November,” said Mike Schnieder, the Managing Director of Bunnings. “Marketlink will feature a wide variety of products, including well-known brands, that are not currently available in Bunnings stores.”

According to Bunnings, its site is ranked as the third most-visited e-commerce platform in the country, which Power Retail can verify via the Retailer Performance Rankings.

“This is about creating a highly curated range of products that extends and complements our in-store range, creating a one-stop-shop for our customers’ home and lifestyle needs — everything from the front gate to the back fence,” Mr Schnieder continued. “Our focus is on getting the offer right and we won’t launch until we’re comfortable that the offer is competitive and will be one that is valued by our customers.”

How Will Amazon React?

It’s no hefty surprise that Bunnings has held the number one spot for home improvement and hardware. Although many retail professionals are wary of the size of the US tech giant, it’s safe to say that Bunnings is taking this threat in its stride.

According to Trent Rigby, the Senior Anayalist at Retail Oasis, Amazon may be a threat that’s waiting to happen. “I think Amazon is a huge threat,” he explained. “I just don’t think it is [a threat] yet. But there’s real potential there. Down the track, in a year or two, they pose a huge threat to anyone in that home and hardware space.”

However, Aussie customers are still set int heir ways about Bunnings, and the ‘True Blue’ spirit that’s attached to the brand name. Bunnings has created a culture within Australia of your ‘local tradie that’s here to help’. With the pinboard in the store with the staff’s faces pinned amongst the local school fundraisers and other community notices, it seems that Bunnings is a true part of the Australian culture.

Not to mention its sausage sizzles outside the stores. As I have previously mentioned:  If a customer goes to Bunnings and didn’t get a sausage, did they really go to Bunnings? While it’s small, these experiences create an atmosphere for the consumer. You come for the products, you stay for the community. Bunnings is inherently Aussie, which is something that Amazon has to work on to compete with.

“Compelling value, assortment, convenience and availability ensure our customers can trust we’ve got the right products both in-store and online and we continue to be chosen for this along with the expertise and knowledge of our team,” Mr Schiender commented.

Bunnings currently holds a 20 per cent stake in the Australian garden supplies and hardware industry, meaning it has plenty of control for the future of the market. It seems that the introduction of Amazon into this category has given Bunnings a gentle push into the direction it needed to hit a while ago.

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