Timo Buhren – Photo: harbecke.hagebau.de
In May 2019, a hagebau DIY shop opened up a pop-up store in the city centre of Mülheim in Germany and presented a selected assortment of DIY products for a period of 90 days. The Executive Director, Timo Buhren, is presenting the project at this year's BHB GardenSummit.
The German Association for Home Improvement, Construction and Gardening (BHB) is welcoming the industry to attend a trade congress again in the Congress Centre North of Koelnmesse on 3 September. "The garden trade today. The future is now." is the motto of the 6th BHB GardenSummit. The speakers include among others Timo Buhren, Executive Director of the hagebau store in Mülheim and der Ruhr. This year his company ventured into an experiment that is unusual for the DIY store industry: In a salesroom located in the city centre that measures just 50 square metres, the company opened up a so-called pop-up store. In this miniature version of a DIY store, various home improvement products are being offered for a limited period of time. We had the opportunity to talk to Buhren about the campaign prior to the GardenSummit.
Mr Buhren, how did the customers react to your pop-up store in the city centre?
Buhren: As we had hoped, the customers are showing very high interest. Because the concept is very unusual, it soon aroused the curiosity of everyone. Furthermore, we communicated that we wanted to get to know the inner city residents and their needs better even before the shop opening. So, many of them popped by initially without intending to buy anything, just to inform themselves. Our weekly alternating campaigns and offers did however entice them to drop by more frequently and browse round.
Are such pop-up stores not a "step backwards" to a certain extent? Over the past decades DIY stores and garden centres have tended to withdraw more and more from the city centres and have instead opened up their branches in industry parks or on the "green meadows". What makes a story in the city interesting for you again and what are your aims behind this concept?
Buhren: The online trade has over the past years conquered more and more market shares. We have been able to compensate for this to an extent with our own online shop, but our real strength lies in advising the customers personally. I always say: One can purchase products via the Internet, but we provide the solutions! The concept of the pop-up store really underlines this to the people. Because they find a contact partner for their questions immediately on such a small sales area. As soon as a solution has been found, we can deliver the required goods directly to the shop for collection - if they are not part of the basic range. Thanks to the support of our hagebau store in Mülheim we can fall back on over 30,000 items within the shortest space of time.
Are you planning further pop-up campaigns for the future? Or is maintaining a small shop in the city centre perhaps even a long-term option for you?
Buhren: I believe a basic willingness to experiment brings many advantages with it. It enables us to continually re-arouse the interest of the customer. Accordingly, we will remain open to new, innovative concepts.
The combination between consulting, service and the delivery of goods in our city centre shop offers a great deal of potential. It enables us to react to the needs of many customers in a more targeted manner. For example some city centre residents don't even own a car anymore. So, it is sometimes difficult or cumbersome for them to reach an industry park. We are addressing these people and saying: Then we will come to you.
Further information: harbecke.hagebau.de
For information on and to register for the BHB GardenSummit: gardensummit.de/jetzt anmelden