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“Our Best is Yet to Come” Q&A with Angus McDonald, CEO of Barbeques Galore
Barbeques Galore recently unveiled its new and improved online platform. We had a chat with Angus McDonald, the Chief Executive Officer of Barbeques Galore to discuss the new platform, future plans and the importance of a true omnichannel strategy.
Congratulations on the launch of the new barbeques Galore website – it looks fantastic. Why was this launch so important to the Barbeques Galore team?
This is a significant step as part of a much broader journey to transform our business. Over the last two years, we have delivered a new more engaging and inspiring in-store experience which more effectively showcasing our range and the expertise and passion of our team. We have also delivered a significant renewal of our range, accelerating the introduction of innovative and exclusive products like our new Beefmaster range of barbeques, and our new outdoor furniture range. We have at the same time redefined our brand framework, more clearly defining our customer value proposition, and how we work to help our customers to BBQ better.
Under the surface, we have invested $7m in new technology, systems, and process to support the delivery of a seamless omnichannel experience. Just some of these investments include a new ERP system launched last year, a new Order Management System, and most recently the launch of Salesforce CommerceCloud.
You have mentioned that this website can offer a better experience for your customers in 2021. What are some of the other benefits you expect to see as a result of the improved functionality and design?
As an omnichannel retailer, the integration between our digital and physical presence has never been more important. The new website takes a number of steps forward in this area, with much better visibility of product availability and delivery options on the product page, and improvements to navigation and selection particularly for products available with a wide number of configurations. This will be further aided with better integration of content and behavioural recommendations to create a more engaging and intuitive experience. These enhancements are not just important for our e-commerce sales, but also for our in-store customer journey, with a significant majority visiting our website to research online before visiting one of our stores.
Why are these improvements an important part of the Barbeques Galore strategy?
As Australia’s largest specialist barbeque retailer, it is critically important that we lead the market in bringing new products to our customers while introducing new and different styles of cooking, and how to make the most of the outdoor living area. It might be about helping our customers find the right product and technique to cook the perfect steak, or find the right outdoor furniture setting and patio heater for a casual and comfortable family gathering. The step-change in our online experience is an important way to assist our customers through this journey and find the right solution.
You worked with Amblique and Salesforce Commerce Cloud to develop the website – how did the two companies help you create the website that shoppers see today?
Our partners at Amblique and Salesforce have both done a tremendous job to understand our strategy and work closely with us in the development of our new online experience. Building a clear understanding of our customer, our brand, and our product portfolio has assisted in producing an online experience that assists our customers in navigating some of the complexity of our range, and more clearly connecting this experience with what we are doing in-store.
Touching on the last 12 months, what have been some of the most significant changes that Barbeques Galore has seen in the year?
We have seen a consistently strong performance throughout all areas of our business during the pandemic. However, what I am most pleased about are some of the results achieved not just because of the favourable market, but through the delivery of our strategy. We have seen some really impressive early results from our new format stores which have outperformed the broader network, and also some strong results from our new ranges. Within our business, we have also seen strong improvements in team member engagement as we have worked to support our team through the pandemic.
How did the pandemic impact the overall strategy for Barbeques Galore in 2020 and 2021?
We already had quite ambitious plans to reset a number of areas of our business during this time. In many ways, the pandemic has strengthened our resolve to make these changes and has accelerated our delivery of these plans. The work to transform our store network has been a great example of this. We have completed a lot of work to ‘right-size’ our store network, and by the end of this financial year, we will already have 10 of our new format stores trading.
What was one of the biggest lessons you learned as a retailer following the pandemic?
Throughout the pandemic, we have been rewarded where we have taken a step forward as others have taken a step back. As some other retailers were closing stores in March and April last year, we quickly arrived at the view that the best thing for our team, our customers, and our business was to continue trading wherever it was safe and we were permitted to do so.
What do you believe are the biggest challenges for Australian e-commerce businesses right now, and what could be done to address these? What are the biggest opportunities?
While we have seen tremendous growth in the last year that has brought forward the rate of adoption for customers using ecommerce, there will be some normalisation this year. Skilful retailers with a clear value proposition, who have built an emotional connection with their customers will succeed above those who are only catering to the more rational drivers.
The other challenge remains the level of capability in the ‘last mile’ from delivery partners and how they integrate more effectively in the brand experience created by each retailer. The level of competition in the market for B2C delivery providers is high, but we are yet to see some of the consistency of experience that is achieved in other markets around the world.
Looking back at the last 18 months, what has been the biggest challenge, and what has Barbeques Galore learned from the experience?
Global supply constraints remain a continued challenge as strong demand continues for consumer goods across the world. Throughout this time, the partnerships we have developed with our key trading partners have been critically important to working through these challenges. This close collaboration with our key suppliers will continue to be very important as we proceed in an unpredictable global environment.
What online retail trends does Barbeques Galore expect to see in the latter half of 2021?
There have been a number of permanent changes that will remain beyond the pandemic. Most significant of all is a very different attitude to flexible work arrangements, which leads to our customers spending more time at home with friends and family. We may also see a slower return to international travel, which will keep some consumer spending in the domestic economy over the next 12-24 months, while approvals for new home construction are at 15-year highs. Although we will see some normalisation from the peaks in demand from 2020, these important tailwinds give us good reason to continue to be optimistic as we look into the coming year.
Blurring the lines between brick and mortar and online retail is becoming an increasingly popular trend. Does Barbeques Galore expect treating the customer as channel-less to become even more important?
We are absolutely committed to building a truly omnichannel experience for our customers and continue to focus on the areas needed to remove friction points as customers navigate between these areas of our business.
Click and collect is a really important part of our online business, but we are also working to leverage our digital presence within our stores. As an example, we have placed QR codes on our ticketing instore to encourage customers to view our online product content on their phone. We are focused on continuing to leverage these opportunities to connect the physical and digital in support of a rich brand experience.
Is there anything exciting coming our way from Barbeques Galore?
We are working right now on the further rollout of more of our new format stores. We also have a number of really exciting new product launches coming in the next year, and will be launching the next stage of our partnership with Salesforce with the launch of Salesforce Marketing Cloud very soon.
These are just a few examples of the exciting things we have on the way as part of the continued delivery of our strategic plan.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
While some retailers will be asking if this is as good as it gets, despite an incredible year here at Barbeques Galore we believe our best is still yet to come.