Under a program to free up staff time for customer service.
Bunnings is trialling a retail tech robot made by Zippedi to do night-time rounds of stores, scanning aisles and shelves for out-of-stock items.
Managing director Michael Schneider revealed the trial at a strategy briefing day held by parent Wesfarmers yesterday, saying it was part of a broader program of work to make in-store processes more efficient. “[We’re trialling] robots to optimise our space and stock replenishment with overnight aisle scanning,” Schneider said, with an accompanying slide showing a Zippedi-branded robot on a shop floor.
“What we’re aiming to do here is reduce team member hours spent locating hand stock to be filled, or completing [shelf] gap and price checks.” Schneider said the retailer had also made improvements to the picking app that team members use to fulfil ecommerce orders from shelf stock. In addition, he said that Bunnings is also “trialling electronic shelf labelling to further save team member hours.”
Schneider also said that “a variety of tools and solutions have been deployed to make team members’ jobs easier and for them to be more productive, with new rostering platforms across Australia and our team management tool Workday plus our communications platform Workplace.”
The broader purpose of the trials and technology projects, he said, is to reduce the time that staff spend performing tasks, which is better spent servicing customers. “We’re reinvesting team member time away from ‘task’ and back into service using technology and have redeployed over 2.4 million hours of task [time] since 2020,” Schneider said. “Excitingly, another million hours is earmarked [to be saved] for the financial year ahead.”
Driving data deeper
Schneider has long talked up Bunnings’ data investments, and these efforts are continuing.
“[We’re] accelerating data and digital capabilities to support customers shopping across channels and driving productivity and of course strengthening our commercial offer,” he said. On the data side, Schneider foreshadowed enhancements to the retailer’s “product information management platform to enable greater accuracy of our product data right across the business.”
He similarly said there were applications for data in considering how to “optimise the way we consider space utilisation across our store network.” “We’re utilising data in many ways across the business to make smarter ranging decisions and give customers a more personalised experience, as well as to simplify our operations,” Schneider said. “This is creating value from both a growth and productivity point of view.”
On the consumer-facing side, Schneider said much effort was being invested into creating extra value for customers “when they shop with us” and into “understanding them better”. “This is enabling us to personalise content and marketing, including emails tailored to a customer’s local store,” he said.
“We can share great value product recommendations and suggest helpful how-to content online to assist customers to make the most of their purchases.” “Customers can now use their Bunnings app to create a shopping list, find products, collect FlyBuys points and store and receive their receipts digitally.
“Soon we’ll enhance this capability making shopping even easier with barcode scanning for product discovery reviews, [and] ecommerce in the Bunnings app to access full product ranges in-store or at home. “We’re continuing to enhance our digital tools to provide inspiration to our customers both pre- and post-shop, engaging our customers and creating a more personalised experience, no matter where they’re shopping with us.”