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Blue Diamond on selling “a lifestyle”

In an informative webinar hosted by BHETA (Tuesday June 15), Alan Roper, managing director, and Tom Grinnall, head of home at Blue Diamond emphasised the importance of providing consumers with an inspirational setting that will prompt impulse purchasing. “Generating emotion per square foot is as important to us as sales per square foot,” stated Alan.

With non-gardening accounting for 52% of Blue Diamond’s turnover, Tom confirmed that Kitchen is the most significant area for Home; sales are 41% up from 2019. The garden and home chain constantly provides a point of difference, recognising that most customers visit as a leisure activity. Alan described Blue Diamond as: “the ultimate impulse environment.”

Seeing successful retailers as either “aggressively price driven or aggressively aspirational,” with “no third way or middle ground,” Alan emphasised Blue Diamond’s affiliation with the latter. “We are selling our customers a lifestyle for their Home and Garden.” He explained his approach to operating as a set of “different businesses under one roof.”

Above: Alan Roper addressed BHETA members.
Above: Alan Roper addressed BHETA members.

Meanwhile, Tom highlighted his continual search for points of difference, explaining that Blue Diamond is not interested in products that are listed in other garden centre chains or most supermarkets, but recognise there may be crossovers with some innovative, high quality housewares retailers.

Typical Blue Diamond customers do not fall into the category of confident cooks but enjoy entertaining at home and finding excuses to decorate their homes with attractive kitchenware that they can “give pride of place.” Customers also enjoy furnishing their tools and gadget drawer with new finds, and “Might want to show off a new way to chop an onion or peel an avocado,” Tom suggested. Visitors are also increasing eco-aware but also price savvy; hence Blue Diamond is looking for eco-alternatives that are closer to price points of the original products.

Above: An interior view of Trentham’s Blue Diamond Garden and Living Centre
Above: An interior view of Trentham’s Blue Diamond Garden and Living Centre

Blue Diamond’s own brand (or own developed) kitchenware is growing in significance, currently accounting for 15%, with aims for growth to 35% by the end of 2022. Tom noted that the retailer is keen to make products “that bit better for our customer.” He also asked suppliers to help his team to understand different applications for products, noting: “Our teams are great at getting things out of boxes and dressing things up to show different uses.” For example, sales of a Lazy Susan Chip and Dip bowl soared when it was filled with treats for a movie night, or when filled with barbecue relishes.

Blue Diamond’s housewares suppliers are welcome to provide Zoom demonstrations to the relevant team with a view to coming into stores to demonstrate: “We love the added theatre,” said Tom.

Following the success of the webinar, BHETA and Blue Diamond are now exploring the opportunity of a Meet the Buyer event.


Top: Entrance to Trentham’s Blue Diamond Garden and Living Centre.

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