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Case Study: Screwfix: reaping the benefits of mobile

Trade tools retailer Screwfix has been growing fast in digital and, in particular, in mobile, reflecting a strong omnichannel and IT strategy. In its most recent financial filings, sales were up 10.4% overall to £802m, while digital sales up by 18%, including mobile up by 43%, and click and collect sales up by 21%. It’s a picture of enviable omnichannel development with a definite digital trajectory.

Screwfix and its parent company, Kingfisher, are currently rolling out a revamped IT platform as part of a five-year transformation plan that’s roughly halfway complete. The ultimate goal is one product range and one IT system, with m-commerce to the fore because the retailer recognises that its customers, largely working in trades, find it easier to use their mobile phones to place orders. It already has a mobile app and a mobile-responsive website to serve their needs.

Screwfix’s improving IT system is already regarded within the wider group as having best-in-class functionality. Capabilities recently added to its core ecommerce platform include an improved digital market, site search, a new checkout and new mobile sites.

Véronique Laury, chief executive of the parent company Kingfisher, said recently that the third year of its five-year transformation plan was seeing the business, which operates in a number of European markets, move to offer a unified range via a single IT system. This is their clear, stated end goal.

It’s a system that will support, among other areas, stores and online commerce. “The extent and pace of change in the retail sector is profound,” said Laury. “We saw these changes and acted early. We’re now halfway through our Kingfisher transformation and we are well on our way to becoming a truly customer-led, digital and efficient business.”

Laury noted that transformation on this scale is tough, and there are challenges the wider business is working through. “There is still much to do to improve our performance in France and to remove inefficiencies within the business as we continue to transform at pace.”

But it’s also clear that it is Screwfix in the UK that is showing Kingfisher the way ahead. The retailer said that until its unified customer offer was in place, it would open only a limited number of new stores, and that these would mainly be Screwfix UK. It’s this brand that has become a model to follow within the group thanks to its fast sales and profits growth, driven in the main by digital and especially mobile sales.

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