Like many retailers, BSR Group witnessed the Covid-19 purchase wave, starting with increased demand for fridges and freezers, followed by small appliances and coffee machines, which continued into monitors, webcams, laptops and tablets and most recently, smart TVs.

However, having a regional store footprint presented an opportunity to the group’s localised approach, according to BSR Group chief marketing officer, Adrian Mitchell.

“Travel restrictions and people staying in their own surroundings has encouraged customers to shop locally, rather than drive to larger hubs to make their purchases,” Mitchell told Appliance Retailer in an interview in May.

“It was interesting looking at the way the pandemic evolved as consumers became aware that they would be spending more time at home and how various categories evolved within our business – not just appliances but also furniture and IT.

“We identified what was trending online to ensure our members were aware of the trends so their stores were stocked, and we could fulfil orders in store and online.”

Mitchell said through the pandemic, the business performed well both online and offline with consumers equipping themselves for the lockdown period.

“Consumer behaviour was forced to change with restrictions and naturally we saw increased website traffic and increased browsing behaviour accompanied by increased conversions,” he said.

“Our customer research and other industry data has shown that consumers want to touch and feel products with higher ASPs so the path to purchase for us has always been strong for browsing online first but then making the purchase in our bricks-and-mortar stores and it has remained that way.

“Growth for our online and offline business has been almost side by side but there is no doubt that we have seen higher conversion rates in the online space during this period as a result of consumers being forced into purchasing online as a result of lockdown measures.

“We are happy with the way it’s been progressing and pleased that our online business is well up but in line with what is going on in our stores.”