A kid in a candy store is happiness personified. Walking into Leroy Merlin is nothing less than that for home-makers and passionate DIYers.

Leroy Merlin’s entrance into the South African market has been positively received by consumers.

DIYers everywhere enjoy the diverse variety they offer as well as the IKEA-like kits. Leroy Merlin not only offers a service different from what has been in SA before, but their prices confidently beat other home improvement retailers.

With humble beginnings in 1920, Leroy Merlin is an international brand of French descent. It began as a small single store started by Adolphe Leroy and Rose Merlin. It has grown into a Do-it-yourself hypermarket. Leroy Merlin focuses on 4 home improvement activities; DIY, building, gardening, and home decoration.

What makes Leroy Merlin so attractive to the South African demographic?

The following article explores Leroy Merlin’s approach to experiential retail on a scale that sets it aside to other home-improvement retailers in South Africa.

Before we dive into checking all the proverbial experiential retail boxes Leroy Merlin ticks, let us define what experiential retail is:

According to LightspeedHQ experiential retail is when a retailer’s brand/store does the following:

“Creates an immersive and shareable experience”

“Prioritizes customer engagement—not sales”

“Stimulates customers’ senses”

“Defies customer expectations”

“Leverages in-store events and services”

“The store experience addresses consumer needs”

The latest and greatest in the retail space is experiential retail and all that it does for ROI (Return on Investment). Big brands use “experiential retail” as a proven method to retain loyal consumers, getting them to keep coming back for more. Having consumers spend more time in stores or engaging the brand increases the chances of them spending money and calling others to come to spend with them.

What does Leroy Merlin do well and how?

Creates an immersive and shareable experience:

Leroy merlin understands its customer and the effort it requires for their customer to improve their homes. Part of the excitement in home improvement is shopping for the project.

Leroy Merlin gets their customers excited about coming into the store and searching around for products that best suit their project. Leroy merlin does this in a couple of ways:

1. Social media influencers create DIY blog tutorials and videos while referencing Leroy Merlin as their choice of home-improvement retailer for where to purchase products.

2. Model designs of products are little real-life capsules consumers can step into to experience the potential of what their desired space would look and feel like.

How can you apply this principle in your retail store?

Gain insight into who your consumer is and what their behavioral patterns are.

Prioritizes customer engagement—not sales.

Consumer experience is crucial in the subject of experiential retail. Engaging customers correctly has to be strategically done. It has to focus on customer needs and keeping their attention on the brand.

Home improvement is an immensely personal experience and Leroy Merlin situates themselves in a way that makes them relatable and approachable.

Their website offers an array of communication to and from the consumer. Leroy Merlin executes this particularly well when consumers have access to detailed opinions about products Leroy Merlin has on offer. Even before a consumer makes a purchase, they have the opportunity to engage with products and a community of opinions about particular products they are interested in. Customer feedback and reviews are valuable snippets of information expected by mindful consumers.

Ensure your website is engaging and easy to use. As you display products on your e-commerce website, allow consumers to engage with interactive product reviews. Contact Posibolt to assist with integration into world-class omnichannel platforms. This in turn will assist selling to more customers in more locations simple and scalable.

Stimulate customers’ senses.

Aesthetically, Leroy Merlin’s signature green subconsciously stimulates feelings of revitalization, rejuvenation, and creativity. These feelings relate to the consumer that is spending time on home improvement. The green branding of Leroy Merlin runs throughout the store on various eye levels and can be found on various platforms. As the consumer appreciates products, information on posters, branding on products, and even a DIY book are glimmers of the fresh green promoting feelings of security and creativity. Leroy Merlin partnered up with Mugg n Bean and offers a welcoming scent of smell and taste in their warehouse. As you browse, current, light-hearted, and trendy music plays in the background. All in all, space is a delight to be in. Mimicking for the consumer what they would desire in their own home, Leroy Merlin sets a good example for home improvement.

Make sure that your branded information and colors are everywhere in the store that is tasteful and trendy. Packaging can also be a useful way to remind your consumer about a memorable experience they had in store.

Leverages in-store events and services.

In-store at Leroy Merlin is often filled with promotional activities. On a Sunday your kids are treated to freshly made popcorn. Promoters can be found on entering the store handing out current sales and specials pamphlets.

The most distinct feature of the Leroy merlin brand is the in-store workshops and training they offer to consumers. They allow consumers to utilize in-store tools and equipment to complete a DIY project. Skilled personal share tricks-of-the-trade to consumers about woodwork and other building and fitting projects.

Additionally, Leroy Merlin has partnered up with the largest vetted professionals in South Africa, Kandua.com. A major pain point for home-improvers is accessing vetted contractors. This additional service in-store is an extra that consumers welcome making them feel they are getting more for their buck.

Depending on the type of retailer you are, partnering up with local services can make your store stand out to your consumers. Need expert advice on figuring out what business processes you can improve to increase your bottom line?

The store experience addresses consumer needs:

Consumers visiting a home-improvement store want to walk away with products and services that allow them to beautify and improve their homes. The home is a sacred space of comfort and privacy. It’s a space that a consumer spends time in to recharge and rejuvenate. As we mentioned before, Leroy Merlin branding evokes those feelings for their consumers on entering the door or accessing their omnichannel platforms.

Leroy Merlin reaches the consumer on a personal level by ensuring that sales staff are equipped with the knowledge to assist consumers. Consumers can get advice and draw support from staff on how to design bathrooms, kitchens, fix, install, etc. Kiosks are based all around the store to assist consumers to answer an endless array of questions.

Ensure your staff are well equipped with relevant information and have soft-skills (people-skills). Staff that is excited about being in your business means that you will encourage consumers to be excited to interact with your brand. Leverage the correct data insight to understanding your consumer and make sure your staff understands how to appeal to the needs of that particular consumer.

A quick recap:

This article explored a range of factors crucial to enhancing a retailers brand in the eyes of the consumer. For forward-thinking retailers, experiential retail is imperative to connect with consumers interested in experiences and not just consumption. Leroy Merlin seems to have the answer to experiential retail. Exploring their efforts to connect with their consumers can assist other retail brands to scale-up and even consider multi-store retail as a reality. Employ the following ideas into your business processes and operations to increase your revenue and build your brand:

Create an experience that proactively engages your consumers and encourages them to share both online and offline.

Prioritize your customer engagement, make them stay and keep coming back for more whether it is for information or for after-market service.

Leverage your store space to be one that is inviting and exciting for customers to want to come to. This can be done with in-store events, and additional value-added services.

Stimulate your customers’ senses and appeal to their comfort and entertainment. Furnish your store with trendy and brand appropriate décor. A place that is aesthetically and physically delightful will become a store that your customer will want to spend time in, the longer they do, the better for your bottom line.

The store experience you provide should cater to the needs and expectations of your customer. Know what those needs and expectations are and make sure your staff knows them too. Ensure that your online presence appeals to the pain-points of your consumer so that they trust you will give them what they need and never disappoint, that way they will keep coming back for more.

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