Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Tech talk for DIY retailers in 2024

Published: 2 February 2024 - DIY Week

This will be another tough year for DIY retailers but among the many challenges are a number of opportunities available to companies able to build instore networks that can fulfil multiple roles for their customers and their staff, says Peter Ward Country Manager UK & Ireland at Pricer, the solution-driven leader in-store digitalisation.


Reports are now emerging to suggest that 2024 will be one of stagnation for UK retail. This view comes based on low to no growth in the economy in 2023 and consumers still experiencing a cost of living crisis due to inflation. Meanwhile retailers still face a recruitment dilemma, high staff costs, political uncertainty and a trading landscape changed permanently by the pandemic. At the same time, while consumers have less free cash to spend, they are no less demanding in their expectations around service.

Even allowing for a fall in inflation and an easing in retailers’ freight costs, 2024 will be another tough year, one that will reward those that made many of the necessary changes to their systems and processes and looked hard for the economies and rise in productivity afforded by in-store technology.

What this all comes down to is 2024 will be a year of winners and losers, the winners being those that invested and the losers those that perhaps left it too late to catch up or will be fated to see their market share decline.

The opportunities for DIY retailers are actually stronger than for other sectors because they have the double advantage of having two key markets they can target – b2c DIY consumers as well as b2b craftsmen and independent trades persons.

Where once these different groups were treated differently both in store and on line, we are now seeing a merging of the b2c and b2b experience that provides the best of both worlds – help and advice for the DIYer, as well as high availability and easy access for the b2b buyer, all of which come together at the shelf.

This approach also makes things easier for staff able to identify exactly where missing items need to be located on the shelf, using optical communications flash technology so the precise location is signalled. And in turn to pick available items to help customers in store as well as for on line orders. For delivery or click and collect.

While this ensures, as Guylène Riera Cochu, Financial and Administrative Director, Kingfisher Group-owned L'Entrepôt du Bricolage explains, “the best working conditions possible by eliminating repetitive and time-consuming tasks from staff’ daily workload,” it also leads to significant cost savings on labour hours, an important consideration as wages continue to rise and the new UK minimum wage is introduced in May 2024.

“Pricer labels are fitted with NFC chips which enable communication with an electronic shelf label via a smartphone. For now, that’s something we’re yet to implement, but the support we receive from Pricer allows us to actively think about it, so we’re aiming to trial this device in some of our stores next year. Let’s not forget that most great ideas were found in feedback from our end-users who are in the field daily, and who help us prioritize in line with their needs. It’s this vision, and this collaborative approach, both with Pricer and with our in-store teams, which truly make our brand valuable and unique,” says Gwénola Riquin, Project Manager for L'Entrepôt du Bricolage.


For customers, they are assured that the exact item they are looking for is available and that it can be traced quickly, signalled through the price label with whatever information the retailer decides is necessary to ensure a sale. This is an essential capability in a market where the sheer range of choices of item for a single project can be confusing, leading customers to either pick the wrong item if they are not sure or even to give up, which has an impact on both sales and loyalty.

Proof of this is borne out in research of over 2,000 UK shoppers by Pricer in its ‘Pricer UK Consumer Insight Report 2021’ report, which 46% of shoppers would abandon their entire basket and leave the store without buying anything if the item they needed was out of stock or not available on the shelf. Meanwhile, 54% say they are less likely to continue shopping with a brand or retailer where stock replenishment is often poor.

L'Entrepôt du Bricolage was prepared to enumerate the benefits of using electronic shelf labels in terms of boosted productivity and team skill development. Riquin says, “Thanks to electronic shelf labels, geolocation allows us to undeniably save time on shelf-stacking, order preparation and product relocation: on average, the time spent looking for a product on the shelves was reduced from 50 seconds to less than 5 seconds, which really gives our team the ability not only to focus on tasks with high added-value, but also to be more attentive to customer relations, which benefits greatly from this availability. The electronic label also helps with communicating a dynamic brand image, while also providing relevant product information (stock levels, open orders, delivery date, product discontinuity, etc.).”

There’s no question that L'Entrepôt du Bricolage has derived a long list of benefits from a single core technology, which it is supporting through a private Cloud solution provided by Pricer (, integrating everything for management, control and security. Retailers able to recover margin through complete control of sales and replenishment are those that will be able, as inflation falls in H2 to start thinking about growth.



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