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Leah Balter, Chief Information Officer, Bunnings
As a prominent bricks and mortar retailer, Bunnings has a long history of delivering an exceptional in-store experience for D.I.Y. and trade customers across Australia and New Zealand. More recently, the business has undergone a period of significant transformation when it comes to digital, data and technology.
The ecommerce journey really began in 2018, when the business set up a new team and structure to support an acceleration towards a full e-commerce offer. I am lucky enough to lead that team which now exceeds 700 people across technology, digital, data & analytics, and innovation.
The ecommerce strategy has been executed alongside a range of innovative tech projects such as the launch of the PowerPass App for our Trade customers which lets customers self-transact and skip the checkout – this was a first from an Australian retailer at the time of launch.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we were thankful for the work we had done to establish and improve our digital capabilities, but recognized gaps and opportunities in the way we were able to service our customers.
Our Drive & Collect service went from an idea to a national roll-out in less than three weeks in Australia and it became the primary method for customers living with the strictest lockdowns. It allowed customers access to the essential products they needed, with a convenient and contactless collection option.
In 2020 we launched the first version of the Product Finder app which is designed to help customers find the products they need quickly when in store, supported by a new interactive map feature which maps the fastest route around the store based on the customer’s product list. We were also able to use this platform to introduce COVID-safe notifications to remind customers to shop fast and smart.
To support this growth, a new platform for both our retail and trade websites was launched, bringing the ownership in-house and building our team’s capability to provide better functionality and the ability to customize the customer experience.
Three years ago, we saw an average 4.8 million weekly sessions to our Australian website. At the peak of COVID-19 we hit 14.6 million demonstrating the huge growth in traffic and customer interest in our online offer.
We’re also applying new technology across our operations and logistics and, more recently, we’re focusing more on how we can use tech to make smarter business decisions and understand our customers better.
Investment In Our Team Remains Our Number One Priority, They’re Our Most Important Asset And Will Continue To Play A Crucial Role In Delivering The Pipeline Of Exciting Activity We Have Ahead Of Us
We’ve invested in the data fundamentals to support our enterprise data platform, enabling a single view of the customer and we launched our partnership with Flybuys, an Australian customer loyalty program, allowing customer to earn reward points when shopping with us, and providing us with deeper insights into our customer’s purchasing habits.
Investment in our team remains our number one priority, they’re our most important asset and will continue to play a crucial role in delivering the pipeline of exciting activity we have ahead of us.
Whether it be partnering with global leaders such as Microsoft to offer traineeships and development opportunities, or through programs like cadet ships, we want our team to grow and find longevity working with us.
We are committed to continuing to build our data, digital and technology systems and see this ongoing investment deliver even more value for our business now and over the long term.