B&Q MARKETING STRATEGY & THE NEW B&Q DIAMOND+ CARD

SHORT HISTORY OF B&Q

Richard Block and David Quayle were the founder members of B&Q, in Southampton in March 1969. The company was originally called Block and Quayle but soon was shortened to B&Q.
 

Many more stores were opened from the initial one in 1969 and by 1979 there were 26. The founder members Richard Block and David Quayle left the company in 1976 and 1982 respectively.

After selling his share his share of B & Q in 1976 Richard Block invested the money in a commercial tomato growing enterprise in Guernsey. This venture failed due to the economic crisis shortly after, caused by the Middle East crisis and the subsequent souring oil prices.

As a change of direction in his life and career, he spent eight years of professional training to become a consultant therapist and in 1995 moved north to Altrincham, Cheshire to pursue his new profession. The job didn’t have a good salary so he trained as a driving instructor and worked for BSM (British School of Motoring) to supplement his income.
 
When David Quayle left the company in 1982 he decided to fulfil one of his life long ambitions and invested his money in the restoration of the Beatrice Royal contemporary art gallery in Southampton which was formally a 1950’s United Reform Church. He often described himself as a failed art student but always had a great love for the contemporary art movement. He also worked for other companies, such as Television South and City Vision.
Unfortunately, David Quayle died on the 6th of April 2010, aged 73.
 
After the loss of its founders, B&Q grew rapidly and acquired other companies through merger, acquisition and expansion. In 1980 they bought the Scottish company Dodge City, and then was itself taken over by F. W. Woolworth Company. B&Q and
Woolwarths were then bought by paternoster two years later. Paternoster is now known as Kingfisher plc and is still the parent cumpany of B&Q 
 
In the mid 1990’s B&Q expanded its operations overseas, firstly in Europe and then the rest of the world. In 1996 it opened its
first subsidiary cumpany in Taoyuan City, Taiwan and its first store in Hong Kong on 1st June 2007. During this period B&Q acquired the British hardware mail order cumpany, Screwfix. 
 
By May 2007, B&Q had 332 stores in the UK alone with 100 of these being of the larger Warehouse type and employ 39000 workers. In the financial year 2004/2005 its turnover was £4.1 billion with a profit of £400.5 million.
It has been rumoured in recent years that B&Q is considering a takeover bid by American DIY chains Home Depot or Lowes.
 
THE PROJECT 
 
The purpose of this project and the graphic designs accompanying it show not only a new advertising strategy for B&Q but a re-design and re-marketing of one of B&Q’s existing products, the Over Sixties Club – Diamond Card.

The existing card was considered too ageist, marketed for a small section of the population, it was felt there was a need for a loyalty card that could be used by everyone but with extra concessions for the more mature DIYer. 

Store loyalty cards in recent years have diminished in number and usage. Many firms have abandoned the concept of loyalty cards and replaced them with in-store savings instead. This does not mean that the store card has been abandoned all together; many companies have just changed their format and benefits to the card holder.

The B&Q ‘Over Sixties Club Diamond Card’ is in itself a new concept. It is the only loyalty card that gives store savings to a specific age group (as far as I know). It is a specific card, for a specific age group shopping in the store on a specific day of the week.

It was decided that the B&Q ‘Over Sixties Club Diamond Card’ was too restrictive and a new format of store loyalty card would result in better sales.

B&Q OVER SIXTIES CLUB DIAMOND CARD

The Over Sixties Club Diamond Card, as the name implies, is a loyalty card directed at the potential customer of pensionable age. It has a limited usage, offering a 10% discount on purchases but it can only by used on Wednesdays. Some B&Q Warehouses have expanded this to any day of the week but these outlets are very few in number.

The advertising for this loyalty card is virtually non-existent. Potential customers need to visit a B&Q store in order to pick up an application form, or alternatively, one can be down loaded from the B&Q web site. In both cases, the completed form needs to be submitted to an in-store customer services employee or a till operator. The application form is then sent to head office, where it is processed and the subsequent Over Sixties Club Diamond Card is posted to the applicant’s home address

Many other outlets use store loyalty cards, all of which have different benefits. The loyalty card seems to be in decline though and many companies have withdrawn them from use. There are exceptions to this recent trend, one of B&Q’s main rivals; WICKES have introduced their own version of the store loyalty card. It enables customers to gain points for purchases which can be redeemed for discounts. The WICKES loyalty card is simply called ‘My Wickes Card’ and can be used in any WICKES DIY and builder’s merchants any day of the week.

 

THE PROPOSED NEW LOYALTY CARD

There seems to be a gap in the market for a loyalty card that will cover a broader spectrum of the general public. The B&Q Over Sixties Club Diamond card only caters for a minority market as does the B&Q Trade Discount Card.

The new proposed loyalty card would be a more general card which would not only cater for the more mature DIY enthusiast but would be offered to the general public of all ages. This would create a larger customer base. An attempt must be made for the card to be less ageist and more age neutral.

CARD BENEFITS

The proposed benefits of the new B&Q Diamond+ Card are:

  • 15% Discount or loyalty points for the over sixties
  • Loyalty points for all customers
  • Any day use
  • Loyalty points conversion to discounts or cash back (in the form of a voucher to be used in any B&Q outlet)

The application criteria for a card are exactly the same as the existing Over Sixties Club Diamond Card. The application form is the same type but without the age restriction. All potential customers must provide proof of address and age. The new Diamond+ card does not have the same restrictions that are encountered with the old Over Sixties Club Diamond card. For example, with the old card, the 10% discount offered can only be claimed on products that are not part of a promotional sale. The new Diamond+ card enables all customers the opportunity to claim their points or 15% discount on all products within the store, whether they are on promotional sale or not. This means compound discounts for all customers.