As part of the firm’s ambitious growth plans, Knees Home & Electrical is moving from its Spitfire Trowbridge store to new premises, just 0.8 miles away on White Horse Business Park.
The entire retail operation will now be under one roof helping the team to create a smooth customer experience combining a new experiential-led showroom alongside its warehouse and support teams.
The new premises will focus on showcasing aspirational, investment and lifestyle products including built-in appliances, range cookers and fitted kitchens. Online will continue to provide an extended range of freestanding appliances plus its homeware categories.
Andy Pickford, Knees Managing Director, shares the story behind the move.
When the opportunity arose to snap up the new White Horse Business Park site we jumped at the chance. A building like this doesn’t become available every day, so we moved fast and decisively to secure it. We are really excited about this move and can’t wait to offer our loyal customers a more refined shopping experience.
What this new building gives us is a platform to provide our customers with a wonderful opportunity to see our aspirational and lifestyle products in an experiential space. By consolidating our entire operation under one roof, we can connect our physical and digital offering and provide our customers with a more efficient and hassle-free service proposition. This is all part of our plan to continue to evolve as a digital-first omnichannel retailer.
Modern retail was already evolving but the pandemic has quickened the pace more significantly than anyone could ever have imagined. That change of course is the acceptance and volume of transactions being completed online.
We are all consumers and we all live very fast paced lives. In such a commercial-driven world, online is a convenient and trusted purchasing medium. Because of the restrictions through the lockdowns, people had no choice but to use online. On top of that, being unable to leave the house, people went digital from a recreational perspective to cure boredom as they had more free time available. The pandemic has forced a demographic of consumers to use online shopping, who were previously highly resistent. These people (or a large proportion of them) had a positive experience of online shopping and wondered why they hadn’t used it sooner. They now have the confidence to buy in this way and will continue to do so. As a result, a whole new group of previously untapped customers are now brought into online as a way of shopping.
Due to the many positive aspects to shopping online for consumers, retailers now have to find alternative reasons for consumers to come to their showrooms and stores. That’s where experience lead concepts are now required to create theatre, and a greater focus on investment, aspirational and lifestyle product offerings to bring consumers to physical locations. This puts the consumer in charge, giving them the option to touch, see and feel the products before committing to a purchase which gives them the option of buying in store on the day, or purchasing at home at their leisure when they’re ready to commit.
Our new showroom is aligned with exactly what I’ve outlined above. An experiential lead showroom with in store cooking demonstrations and special events where we can interact and give our customers a reason to visit us.
Our product range will focus on investment purchases and will include kitchens, range cookers and built-in appliances. When people are making such significant decisions, it’s important for them to be able to come in and interact with the products to solidify their decisions.
Individual freestanding products are usually functional purchases driven by necessity of performing a task or a distress purchase due to a machine breakdown. The consumer just wants the convenience of the machine quickly, delivered at a time to suit. That type of purchase is perfectly suited to online shopping and is what we’re seeing more and more. Because of this, we will have just a carefully curated offering of freestanding products in our new showroom, with a wider range available to buy online.
The biggest external influence in our business over the next five years is going to be consumer buying habits and by making these changes we’re ahead of the curve. Our new space in Trowbridge offers a core foundation for our talented team to flourish and for us to invest in continually evolving our offering to suit our customer’s needs.
Our Malmesbury customers will be pleased to hear that the Malmesbury store remains an important part of our physical proposition. After significant investment in this store, despite Covid’s challenges we are seeing an encouraging trading performance.
We look forward to welcoming you to browse our products in-store and online soon. Follow us on social media and keep an eye on the news area of our website for more exciting developments as they happen.
Knees has been part of the Wiltshire community for over 140 years, established in 1879. It is still owned by the family and the current Chairman of the Board, Marcus Holbrow, is the great grandson of its founder, Henry John Knee.