Established bricks-and-mortar retailers such as Barbeques Galore, Beds n Dreams and Linen House are some of the first brands that have joined a new online homewares supercentre: Homemakercentral. Intended to be a digital companion to traditional homeware shopping centres, the marketplace was created by Bill Gremos, who identified that traditional retailers had to scramble and fight for online attention. Gremos – who founded and was previously the CEO of the Decorug retail group – told
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told Inside Retail that Homemakercentral enables traditional stores to compete against pure-play e-commerce vendors, while also providing consumers with a one-stop-shop to browse, compare and shop.
The website enables customers to shop by product category, by room, by retailer, or by a curated design board – by integrating the existing online store of different specialty retailers.
Through the website, Gremos believes that brands are more able to generate brand awareness – and be front of mind for customers – when operating collectively, rather than in isolation.
“You’ll see multiple products by multiple retailers all related to [say] the bedroom. That’s how we shop in the real world. Why wouldn’t we shop like that in the digital space,” Gremos said.
“With Homemakercentral, these brands are [presented alongside] other retailers in the space. I think [it] represents an evolution in retail, especially in the homeware space, which evolved from isolated stores on main roads to congregated precincts. [All] we’ve done is create a shopping centre for online stores.”
Gremos said that the website launched in November 2022, and started to advertise about two weeks ago. The site is free for retailers to join, with a success-based fee model built in, and there’s no strict barrier for entry in terms of size or scale. But, retailers involved must have a physical store presence.
A priority for the website is to create a digital retail environment with a quality mix of retailers and product range in the homeware space, according to Gremos, who noted that the website has seen “pretty healthy transaction values”, with an average order value of about $600 per transaction.
It is set to add to the number of vendors on the platform in the coming months.
“It’s basically a risk-free way for homemaker retailers to grow their presence online, and get in front of customers who are [looking] to invest in and furnish [their] home,” he said.
Becoming the hero
According to Gremos, an advantage of Homemakercentral over other online marketplaces is that the brands involved have a physical presence. As such, they are more likely to be recognised and trusted by customers.
With rising cost of living pressures, he suspects that consumers might delay making homeware purchases, which can be seen as discretionary items. As such, he believes it’s vitally important for retailers to have as many touch points as possible.
“It’s one place Homemakercentral can help, because it’ll put quality retailers in front of more customers in the right environment,” he said. “We’re no doubt in for some challenging times. But on the back of that, retailers – through the website – can grow their reach, exposure and business,” he said.
“On Homemakercentral, retailers have their own stores within the centre, so it’s about making them the hero in terms of brand presence.”
He added that the website will soon incorporate a quarterly magazine, feature reward points for purchases, and curated design boards.
“For customers, not only does it give them an abundance of choice, but it enhances their browser experience. The functionality and process is integrated – for example they only have to check out and pay once despite buying from different stores,” he said.
“People can explore the design boards that have been professionally curated by an interior designer or create their own shoppable design boards for their home and see how items from different retailers will look together in their space.”
Regarding Homemakercentral’s future plans, Gremos explained that the goal was to become the preferred online destination for consumers in the homeware space.
“For us the equation is very simple,” he said.
“To create an experience for customers that they’ll keep coming back to, and to create another outlet for retailers to [reach customers].
“[All] we’ve done is create a shopping centre for online stores, and [endeavoured to] provide customers with a better shopping experience across multiple retailers.”