At last week’s annual general meeting, Briscoes touched on some familiar themes being heard across the industry- finances, the impact of COVID-19, and how the business’ stores had held up through New Zealand’s lockdown.
However, chief operating officer Andrew Scott also unveiled the lessons that were learned during the period, and a three-year strategy to improve the Briscoes business and complement its strengths.
“The strategy… has three key pillars: enhancing our customer interaction across both physical stores and online; overhauling our supply chain to build capacity for future growth; and growing new revenues that complement our existing retail brands and potentially new product markets,” Scott told investors.
To Scott, the most important facet of the overhaul is to improve Briscoes customer experience.
During the COVID-19 crisis, New Zealanders quickly migrated to digital media and online shopping – a trend seen across the globe due to lockdown measures – and Briscoes new online platform saw “incredible sales increases”, with its peak day up 700 per cent on standard trade.
This new online platform will be used to increase personalisation across its customer base, while in-store efforts will be focused on developing digital tools to allow team members to invest in customer interactions.
“We are also reviewing global best practice to improve our in-store checkout process; this will include technology and process developments to further increase efficiency,” Scott said.
Secondly, in partnership with KPMG, Briscoes wil overhaul its supply chain to keep up with the accelerated growth of online.
KPMG have previously reviewed the supply chains of Mitre 10 and Fisher and Paykel, and worked with these businesses to deliver development programmes.
Briscoes aims to have a review completed by the end of 2020, and have an improved supply chain by 2021. Key goals are to improve product availability, speed the fulfilment and a lower cost to serve, Scott said.
And finally, the third focus of the new strategy is to venture into a wider product assortment, and entering new markets, in order to diversify revenue.
“Global retailers in similar product areas to Briscoe Group have successfully utilised their physical and online stores to expand their product range,” Scott said.
“Having spent time with such companies, I am very confident that we can also deliver a wider range of products to meet our customer’s needs.”
While the jury is still out on what the post-COVID consumer’s shopping habits will look like, Briscoes is taking a bet that they will respond to a larger focus on digital and personalised service.