Arts and crafts retailer Hobbycraft is poised to begin a digital roll out, including the launch of click-and-collect, after a delay last year.
HobbyCraft, which was bought by private equity group Bridgepoint in 2010, had originally scheduled a website relaunch prior to Christmas but this was pushed back.
Chief executive Catriona Marshall said: “We felt it was too risky to launch the website in peak trading at Christmas. So we decided to put the launch back to the new year which has given us the opportunity to develop the site further. It is now in test mode.”
Marshall said the “last piece of the jigsaw is now in place” after Hobbycraft, which has 75 stores in the UK, developed a new purpose-built 210,000 sq ft distribution centre in Burton which the retailer will begin trading through by August.
Hobbycraft doesn’t have a set date to relaunch the website but Marshall said it would be “in the next few weeks”.
As well as the website relaunch, Hobbycraft plans to open an m-commerce site and introduce click-and-collect in store in the coming months as part of its so-called 24/7 multichannel strategy. The name relfects the fact customers can shop whenever they want.
“Everything will be in place by Summer, so that we are comfortable by September for when shoppers begin to think about Christmas.
“Digital is essential,” said Marshall.
In addition to its online push, Hobbycraft is also overhauling its product offer to give a more defined good, better, best structure through its value range, its own brand products and its exclusive products.
Marshall said: “The core categories have not changed for many, many years and there will be three major pushes in products in May, June and September.”
She added that the kids’ offer will be “completely revolutionised”, with a bigger branded offer and a larger space in store. Hobbycraft is introducing products designed to tap into school projects, such as making solar systems and volcanoes and the retailer has created a special mascot called Crafty Monkey to help bring crafting to life for its pre-school kids. Haberdashery and stitch will have new additions and papercrafts will offer exclusive ranges from craft expert Stephanie Weightman.
In November Hobbycraft appointed former B&Q marketing boss Katherine Paterson as customer development director to drive its multichannel and marketing strategy. She will be responsible for creating the new marketing strategy behind its ‘Get Britain Making’ initiative, which involves offering more in-store classes and crafting expertise to certain groups, such as the Scouts.