Kingfisher held its first product show this week in Lille, unveiling innovations including a smoke alarm that texts you when it detects smoke and a shed that can be assembled in 60 minutes.
The Kingfisher One Team Product Show brought together 10,000 products, 400 suppliers and 6,000 store staff from across B&Q and Castorama France in a 200,000 sq ft conference hall.
Unveiling the event to analysts on Wednesday, Kingfisher group chief executive Ian Cheshire said: “This is the physical manifestation of the Creating the Leader strategy. It starts with product and people. This is the thing that delivers the numbers. It’s the birth of the future of Kingfisher.”
The retailer unveiled many innovations at the event. Here are a pick of the best:
Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm – Created by four Apple employees who developed the iPod, the system sends a text to the homeowner’s mobile telling them what the danger is, where it is and what to do. “It’s exactly why you bought the iPod when it first came out,” said Cheshire. “It’s so intuitive.”
The Milly Lamp – Falling under the Kingfisher own-label Colours brand, the Milly lamp is made from silicone and can be shaped into different sizes and packs flat, making it easy to transport from the store or when moving house. It also makes it easier for the retailer to stock and display.
Mac 1 – Kingfisher own-brand MacAllister has designed a cordless drill with a light in the end, making it easier to see in confined, poorly lit spaces. It also has an ‘intuitive chuck’ making it easier to change to different bit sizes.
Hammer – It’s hard to add value to a hammer, but MacAllister has achieved it. After repeated use or being outside in rain, traditional hammers can slip in the customer’s hand. Using the same technology found on golf club shafts, MacAllister has applied non-slip material to hammers. The hammer also features a magnetised groove on top that holds different sized nails so users do not have to risk painfully hammering their thumb.
Camden Barbecue – Research showed customers wanted barbecues that were easy to use, clean and store. The new range of Kingfisher own-brand Blooma barbecues features porcelain enamel grills that can go in the dishwasher. Shelves are foldable, making it easy to store.
Quick-assembly shed – This product is designed to appeal to those consumers who are afraid to assemble a shed. The smaller of the designs takes just 60 minutes to erect. It’s easy to put together because the panels are preassembled and it uses a stapling system rather than hammer and nails. The plastic roof is hard-wearing and requires less maintenance than traditional roof felt and can be fitted from the inside. The door and window can go on anywhere in the structure.
Quick-assembly kitchen units – Kingfisher’s Cooke & Lewis brand cabinets can be assembled in less than a minute. The units use a uniclick system, requiring no screws.
Kitchen 3D planner tool – The Spaces Planner technology has cut virtual kitchen planning down from two hours to about two minutes. The shopper only has to wait moments before getting an exact quote and a full shopping list of the items needed. The benefits to the customer are obvious, but the speediness also helps B&Q as it frees up time for sales people to sell. Last year 260,000 kitchen plans were created and never bought, meaning staff wasted 520,000 hours that could have been better spent. With this system, staff will know within two minutes if they are on to a sale or not.