Bunnings named Australia’s top online retailer for the first time

Bunnings has taken out top honours this year at Australia’s Top 100 Online Retailers awards. 

Conducted by e-commerce insights and intelligence analysts Power Retail, the awards were announced at the All Star Bash – a night to celebrate the ‘All Stars’ of digital retail and recognise their mark on the Australian retailing industry.

Each year, Power Retail recognises Australia’s Top 100 Online Retailers and announces category winners at this prestigious event. The winners represent the best-of-breed leaders of the e-commerce industry.

Bunnings Warehouse pipped the pack for the first time, followed by grocery giant Woolworths, with Kmart taking out the third spot. Rounding out the top 10 were Coles, Kogan, Catch, Target, Chemist Warehouse, Officeworks and JB Hi Fi.

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In a year that spelled disaster for many bricks and mortar retailers, Bunnings, as with many other traditional retailers, diversified and saw the pandemic as an opportunity to improve their online offering.

“In line with government restrictions across Australia and New Zealand, we made a number of changes to our store operations and moved at pace to fast-track our online offer with a fully transactional website offering both Click & Collect and Click & Deliver services,” Leah Balter, the director of digital told Power Retail.

“As customers’ needs evolved over the course of COVID-19 restrictions, we continued to adapt our business to meet demand for product categories such as protective equipment and cleaning goods, then home office and gym equipment through our MarketLink offer followed by home improvements, garden maintenance and renewed interest in DIY.”

Bunnings Warehouse enjoyed a huge leap in online traffic and sales that propelled the hardware and lifestyle giant ahead of the supermarket duopoly for the first time.

Slow to adapt to online sales prior to the pandemic, Bunnings click and collect and marketplace offering certainly benefitted from lockdowns, with customers surging to the online store to purchase hardware and appliances for home renovations and hobbies.

At the start of 2020, Bunnings was third in the Power Retail rankings. However, the pandemic propelled Bunnings to the leading spot, following months of enormous growth.

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To identify the top 100, Power Retail analysed retailer performance across the four key dimensions of the consumer lifecycle – acquisition, conversion, fulfilment and retention – to identify where retailers were succeeding, and where they could improve.

Managing director of Power Retail Grant Arnott was impressed at how brands adapted to high online demand resulting from COVID-19.

“Retailers that led the charge, including Bunnings, JB Hi Fi and Officeworks, did well because they learnt to diversify their networks and not just rely on one channel for success,” said Mr Arnott.

“Electrical, essentials and sports were the major upward movers in 2020, with Microsoft jumping 24 spots, and Rebel, BCF and Anaconda climbing into the Top 25. COVID really flipped the board as some of the stronger fashion brands struggled with supply and sales, and so we have seen a major shake-up in this year’s list.

“While online shopping has been great for brands in helping them survive the pandemic, now customer loyalty will become key. Brands need to ensure repeat purchasing is occurring and that there is a focus on personalisation in 2021. Revenue and traffic overall are still increasing year-on-year and the conversion rate is strong, so the onus will be on retailers to ensure they’re delivering the best user experience possible, otherwise shoppers will simply look elsewhere.”

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The top online retailer award goes on the shelf next to Australia’s Most Trusted Brand, awarded in June 2020 by Roy Morgan.

“Bunnings keeps innovating and creating new connections with its customers. It’s a global retail case study,” said Roy Morgan chief Michele Levine.

Other All Star Bash Award Category Winners included:

No. 1 Online Retailer: Bunnings

Most Improved Online Performance: Princess Polly

Top Emerging Online Retailer: Koala

Best Email Marketing: Adore Beauty

Top Home & Decor Retailer: Temple & Webster

Top User Experience: Adore Beauty

Top Beauty Retailer: Adore Beauty

Top Electrical & Office Retailer: Officeworks

Top Small Medium Retailer: Bicycles Online

Top Innovator: Modibodi

Top Sustainable Retailer: Flora & Fauna

Top Sports & Outdoor Retailer: Rebel

Top Customer Experience: CUE

Top Department Store: Bunnings

Top Mobile Experience: Bras N Things

Top Fashion & Accessories Retailer: Cotton On

Top Social Retailer: Showpo

Top Online Only Retailer: Kogan

All Star Legends: Gabby Leibovich & Hezi Leibovich (Catch).

What’s your favourite online retailer? Do you think Bunnings deserved the top spot? Which businesses do you think handled the pandemic well? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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