NEC Display Solutions Client Installation Retail

B&Q

WIDE-SCREEN ESTATE ENHANCES VISUALISATION AND COLLABORATION

The roll-out of a new in-store service to customers, enabling quick and easy visualisation and quotation for room designs, is facilitated by new larger screen desktop displays from NEC. The 27 inch large wide-screen estate with wide viewing angles enables a collaborative experience for families as they draw up designs for their homes.

B&Q is the largest home improvement and garden centre retailer in the UK. A wholly owned subsidiary of Kingfisher plc, B&Q retails through 360 stores and its eCommerce site, diy.com. The entire Kingfisher group is currently undergoing a major transformation of its systems and operations to embrace the opportunities and benefits of the digital era.

The Challenge

The key aims of the B&Q transformation include making it easier for customers to shop in store by bringing digital into stores - all of its 360 shops have free customer Wi-Fi. Alongside this, improved customer service, supported through instant access to information, will enable staff to spend more time assisting and advising customers, helping to build brand loyalty and create a personal connection.

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A desktop modernisation programme is upgrading all stores with new hardware and software, migrating from XP to Windows 7 for traditional desktop devices and to Windows 8.1 for the 1,300 tablets deployed to support managers and colleagues in delivering great service on the sales floor. Paul Cannon, B&Q’s Store Technology Proposition Manager identified the upgrade programme as an opportunity to install new larger format screens in order to facilitate the operation of B&Q Spaces.

B&Q Spaces is the company’s new design software which will support the in-store service to customers in the Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom department. The PC-based software enables any member of staff to quickly create a room design for a customer by dragging and dropping computer-generated 3D models of B&Q products onto a pre-loaded room template. Alternatively, staff can work from room dimensions and enter the position of doors and windows and other fixed items, before starting the new design.

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Leading the roll-out of B&Q Spaces across all 360 stores, Paul recognised the benefits of using a large screen to maximize the use of and interaction with the planning software. 'Designing a new kitchen, often a once or twice in a lifetime exercise, is an exciting time and should be an enjoyable and collaborative experience. B&Q Spaces uses photorealistic images to create a 3D visual of the design. The monitor is an important interface in creating and displaying the design and a larger screen enables the whole family to get involved.'

Offering 27 inches of wide-screen estate, the NEC EA273WMi uses IPS panel technology for outstanding image quality and consistency from any viewing angle, resulting in a high level of ergonomic comfort and an enhanced viewer experience. With LED backlighting the display has a discrete, slim design which perfectly complements the upgraded hardware in use at B&Q.

Each of B&Q’s 360 stores has at least two workstations featuring an NEC EA273WMi dedicated to B&Q Spaces with additional workstations allocated according to turnover.

The Result

The new tool means that more staff can help more customers without lengthy time taken with specialist design consultants or the need for a home visit. A particular advantage is for customers in the early stages of planning who would like to get a quick visual idea and estimate of cost.

Paul explains: 'customers feel more connected with B&Q because staff have spent time with them. They can quickly see a visual representation of how their room will look without having to wait for an appointment with a design specialist.'

First to market with a truly customer-focused planning tool, B&Q Spaces also allows customers to have access online so they can manipulate their design for themselves and share it with their architect or tradesperson.

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