Wickes' new multichannel initiatives underway

Wickes' has rolled out a new online platform, which offers customers a number of new features and supports the rollout of click & collect for the first time.

The majority of the DIY retailer's outlets now offer shoppers the chance to order online and pick-up the product in-store, and the company is marketing this new service prominently on its new-look website.

Matt Johnson, a spokesperson for Wickes' parent company Travis Perkins, told Essential Retail that the new click & collect function is likely to particularly benefit its serious DIY and small tradesman customers.

He said: "For those people doing a big project at the weekend – they can look at the item online in the week, order it when they think about it and pick it up on Saturday morning before doing the work, rather than heading to the store to find everything."

Johnson was commenting as Travis Perkins reported that like-for-like first quarter sales within its consumer division, which includes Wickes and 150 Toolstation stores, were up 6.9% year on year.

Overall sales were described as "strong", although the kitchen and bathroom categories in Wickes were reportedly impacted by significant promotional activity in this market.

The online business for Wickes is growing each year and it is the retailer's biggest store in terms of sales, with between 7-8% of total the company’s total revenue now made via the internet.

Although acknowledging that tweaks will continue to be made to Wickes' online proposition, Johnson said: "We're comfortable with Wickes online, we're happy with the way the site works and we're happy with the physical infrastructure that sits behind it.

"It's now about taking what we've learnt from our consumer businesses and applying it to our trade businesses."

Changes continue to be made to the retailer's stores to "intensify the use of the existing property estate", which includes the introduction of Toolstation operations within Wickes' larger sites.

Further down the line, the link between online and offline at Wickes could be further enhanced with the introduction of consumer-facing technology in the physical retailing space.

"Having visual displays in-store that allow customers to click & collect and pick it up later on, so we don't have the stock holding but still have the range available – that's quite an attractive proposition for us," Johnson added.

Such development in Wickes' stores is some way off but with the launch of a new website and fulfilment options, the multichannel journey has ramped up a gear in the last few weeks.