Bunnings looks to reach more tradies, online shoppers

One of the last major retailers in Australia to embrace e-commerce, Bunnings is about to expand dramatically the number and type of products it sells online by launching an online marketplace as early as next month.

The home improvement retailer announced the new offer, which will be called MarketLink, on Monday, just over six months after it launched its first transactional website.

MarketLink will take advantage of the power of Bunnings’ online presence – the retailer has the third most visited shopping and classified site in Australia – to offer customers a wider range of home and lifestyle products in categories such as include indoor furniture, whitegoods, kitchen appliances, home entertainment, kitchenware and homeware.

“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,” Mike Schneider, Bunnings’ managing director, said in a statement.

Bunnings did not reveal which sellers have joined MarketLink, but said they include well-known brands.

“We’ve had a very positive response from sellers and we already have more than 8,000 products ready for launch on MarketLink in November,” Schneider said.

Bunnings’ move to launch a marketplace follows similar initiatives from the likes of Myer, Catch and Kogan, which all have launched online marketplaces to reach more customers and boost sales by offering a wider range of products, without needing to invest and take on the risk of stocking more goods themselves.

The announcement comes just three days after Bunnings entered into an agreement to acquire Adelaide Tools, a family-owned specialist retailer catering to tradies in South Australia, for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition will give the retailer greater insight into how tradies shop, including the brands and products they buy, Schneider told Inside Retail.

“What we’re looking to understand is specific trade categories where we have low market share – industrial tools, hard surface flooring, plumbing, etc,” Schneider said.

Sales to the trade and professional market currently account for about 35 per cent of Bunnings’ overall revenue. It currently operates 31 Bunnings Trade Centres across Australia and New Zealand and three Frame & Truss Plants in Australia, which predominantly carry timber and building material products.

“The Bunnings Warehouse format fulfills a lot of needs, but there are opportunities to be even more convenient for specific trades,” Schneider said.

Adelaide Tools, which has five stores, a mower centre and online store, will continue to operate under its own brand.

Schneider said the retailer would be learning from Adelaide Tools over the next six to 12 months, and would inform the market of further plans at its strategy day next year.

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