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Homebase: Q&A With Dave Elliott, Commercial Director

Dave Elliott Commercial Director Homebase

Homebase continues its Q&A series with an interview with Dave Elliott, Commercial Director. 

Q. Can you give us an overview of your role and responsibility within Homebase?

A. I lead the commercial, distribution and marketing teams. This means that I look after the entire product journey, from the initial sourcing to letting people know about them, and finally, getting them into our customers’ homes and gardens. 

Q. What does a typical day look like?

A. My days are really varied. I might start the morning discussing a new brand partnership – we’ve recently started working with Hearst – before spending the afternoon reviewing sales or taking the time to catch up with distribution.

I’d say that my job at Homebase is unique. Similar roles at other companies tend to be heavily focussed on buying, and while that is an important part of my role, leading marketing and distribution too means I’m involved in a lot more of the customer journey. 

Q. Tell us something that might surprise us about your day job?

A. My job is often impacted by things outside of my control. Freight prices and availability can be affected by everything and anything, from election results to international relations. But no matter what, I work closely with my team and our suppliers to make sure that we’re able to provide our customers with the products they need for their homes and gardens. 

Q. What are your top three priorities for the year ahead in your role at Homebase?

A. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved in 2020 and I’ve never been more sure that our team members really are our biggest asset. I do, however, believe that there’s always room to improve and there’s a few key things that I’m prioritising this year.

Make the customer experience even better – I want to offer each and every one of our customers exceptional service both online and in-store. Listening to customer feedback, whether it be through Trust Pilot, social media, word of mouth or our own measurement tools, is the best way to find out how people want to shop with us. We’ve taken this feedback and worked with The Hut Group to launch our brand-new website and we’ve got more still to come this year.

Empower our team – Our team members are our brand ambassadors and they are already brilliant at inspiring and helping our customers. I want to help them develop this year by investing in more training so they have the knowledge they need to support our customers create homes they love.

Expand our product range – We’ve pushed the boundaries on our product ranges during the last year. We launched our new House Beautiful and Country Living kitchen ranges in partnership with Hearst, as well as an exclusive new range created with Michelin starred chef Michel Roux.

In 2021, you can expect to see new partnerships and more products. The last 12 months have shown how important our homes and gardens are and we want to help people to give projects a go. 

Q. What one word would describe your leadership style, and why is that important to you?

A. Committed. I think it’s one of the most important characteristics you can have and it’s the first thing I look for when building a team. 

Q. Has there been a moment / book / person that has fundamentally changed how you approach business and leadership?

A. Legacy: 15 Lessons in Leadership by James Kerr. It’s about the New Zealand Rugby team’s approach to leadership but the lessons in it can be attributed to all walks of life. It explains that no one person is bigger than the team, it’s about the sum of the parts. 

Q. Which business areas do you expect to be key drivers of growth for Homebase during the next 12 months?

A. I’m confident we’ll see growth across the whole business as we continue to offer everything people need for their home and garden improvement projects under one roof.

We saw demand for paint rise throughout 2020 and we think the new-found confidence when it comes to redecorating will continue this year.

Kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms are all expected to be popular as customers increasingly come to us looking for help on bigger projects. We’re involved from the very beginning and we love transforming an idea into reality.

We also expect to see the ‘cushion effect’ continue in 2021, as people look to make small changes in their homes for a quick pick-me-up. 

Q. What new product or launch are you most proud of?

A. We’ve recently expanded our range of wall panelling with ready-made options to make this popular trend even more accessible. It really shows how affordable, small changes can transform any room or home. 

Q. With people spending record amounts online, how will you ensure Homebase stands out against a growing number of competitors during the next 12 months, both online and offline?

A. Online, it’s all about providing the two Cs: convenience and content. While customers have always expected a straightforward experience online, they’re now also looking for inspirational content to inspire them . Our new website offers customers just that, showing our fantastic products in real settings and on-trend advice guides.

In store, we’re committed to offering an even better customer experience and service. Our stores are an important part of their local communities and we want people to feel like they visit us and get everything they need in one place. Whether that be advice on paint, plants or even an entire home renovation project, our team members really are experts who are on hand to help. 

Q. How has the Covid-19 pandemic changed the way you run the business? Which of the changes you made do you expect to continue throughout 2021 and beyond?

A. Working from home has given our team more independence and I’m keen that this continues when the life goes back to normal. I’m a firm believer that people can only be at their best when they’re given the responsibility to do so. 

Q. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing bricks and mortar retail during the 12 months ahead?

A. It’s important that we make people feel safe. Even with lockdown restrictions slowly lifting, this has to remain a priority in all of our stores.

We also need to be delivering an unmissable shopping experience. With online shopping being easier than ever, we need to give people a reason to get in their car and visit us. A combination of our knowledgeable team members, new and inspirational ‘Get the Look’ room sets in-store and our wide range of products are key to getting customers through our doors. 

I have no doubt that the fantastic team members in our stores and the service they provide will set us up for success and I’m really excited to see what this year holds.

Source : Homebase

Source : Arthouse

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21 May 2021

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