Wilkinson Hardware Stores Ltd. is a family-owned general merchandiser in the UK founded by J.K.Wilkinson in 1930. From its humble beginning as a small hardware shop in Leicester, the company has grown into one of the leading retailers in the UK with £2 billion turnover, 22,000-employees, and about 350 stores across England, Wales and Scotland.
The company’s growth over the years has been driven by the simple philosophy of selling quality goods at discount prices, and putting customers at the heart of everything they do. To remain competitive, Wilkinson Hardware has been constantly developing strategies to respond to changing customers needs.
The company has evolved from a small local hardware store to focus on DIY products, and then started selling groceries & supermarket goods, followed by the launching the Wilko brand, and eventually expanded its product range beyond its traditional hardware and DIY market to over 25,000 items. Wilkinson now sells a wide range of DIY, garden, homewares, office, pet, health and beauty products both in store and through WilkinsonPlus.
Wilkinson’s vision and strategies have been built on its core philosophy of giving people good quality goods for good price. To manage its competitive environment, the current strategy stems from its core ‘generic’ strategy of cost leadership (Porter), but with the combination of beyond-cost approaches.
Alternatively, according to Bowman’s Strategy Clock, we can say that the company is deploying the hybrid strategy, which includes low cost base and reinvestment in low price and differentiation. The company positioned itself as a ‘high street’ value retailer which is committed to provide customers with quality products, value for money, and friendly service. The company’s rapid growth over the last 10 years proves that the company has succeeded in delivering low prices for customers whilst building differentiation on the basis of its broad product range and good customer service.
As part of its continued efforts keep costs low and remain a price leader, Wilkinson invests in its people, logistics, and information technology to reduce costs and improve efficiency. It also develops its private label, ‘Wilko Everyday Value’ brand to create more value for its customers by providing quality products at everyday low prices. Wilkinson’s own branded goods are now an important source of revenue (£640m) and account for as much as 35.9% of its sales.
Wilkinson regularly reviews its quality management systems to ensure that customers are offered the best quality at the lowest price possible. This commitment to quality is also reflected in the Wilko Brand. Customers can be assured that they are buying high quality products at a value for money price with the Wilko Brand quality seal on their products.
Customer-centric approach and good service
Wilkinson’s philosophy has remained the same over the years and its success has been attributed to its commitment of providing customers with an ultimate shopping experience. Apart from being conveniently located at the center-of-town, the company invests in its people and train its people to serve customers quickly, accurately, and with a smile.
To inspire loyalty and improve its image in the hearts of the community, the company stood firm to its five corporate values – Be passionate, Pull together, Build trust, Show we care, Shape the future. Apart from ‘putting customers at the heart of everything we do’, Wilkinson is also giving back to the communities via various programmes and local charitable causes.
Strategies for 2010 and beyond
In conjunction with Wilkinson’s 80th anniversary, the company rolled-out of a re-branding programme with new ‘Look and Feel’ in year 2010 to overhaul its identity. Under this initiative, Wilkinson revamped its logo and changed the store formats to create a cleaner and more appealing visual identity....