Wilkinson is leading the multichannel charge in the value retail sector as it prepares to unveil a new-format store offering free Wi-Fi and an out-of-hours, click-and-collect service.
As part of the overhaul the 360-store retailer is also launching next-day delivery in September to improve its convenience credentials.
In a dramatic departure from its existing format, the new shop in Crawley, West Sussex, will offer Wi-Fi, enabling customers to access the full range online while in store, Retail Week can reveal.
An out-of-hours, click-and-collect operation will enable customers to pick up orders after the store has closed until 8pm, from a designated area at the rear of the shop.
Wilkinson has had a transactional website since 2005, but few of its value rivals have embraced ecommerce because of the difficulty of finding an economically viable model. Poundstretcher pulled its transactional website this year after less than two years.
But Wilkinson brand controller Barry Underdown said: “We want to give customers more choices.”
The Crawley store, which opens on Wednesday, will be the first to use a Wilko fascia as opposed to Wilkinson, and is supported by Wilko.com signage to emphasise its multichannel services.
Brand colours have changed too. The fascia features timber and silver instead of the traditional red and yellow.
The new format is designed to position Wilkinson as a modern retailer, as well as showcase its product following a “huge investment” in visual merchandising.
More emphasis has been put on customer service. Shoppers can design a room using touchscreens in the interactive ‘shape your space’ area.
Underdown said: “We want customers to say that the store is bright and confident but continues to keep the Wilkinson DNA in place.”
Shelf heights have been lowered to improve navigation, while tills have been put at the side of the store rather than the front. Products are also grouped differently to better reflect buying patterns.
Wilkinson will review customer feedback on the initiatives before deciding on a roll-out.