Angus McDonald, CEO of Barbeques Galore, shares the transformation that has super-charged the creation of the ultimate barbecue experience for the customer. From daydreaming about the features of their dream barbecue to producing the perfectly cooked steak for an admiring crowd, Barbeques Galore is there every step of the way with a fresh omni-channel approach.
A BBQ with friends and family was one of the things many of us missed over the course of the pandemic. It’s always been one of the most relaxing ways of catching up and enjoying the fresh air (tinged with the aroma of sizzling steak). Not being able to congregate around the barbie together felt practically unAustralian and when restrictions eased, you could almost hear the whoosh of a thousand tongs being unsheathed as people prepared to come together again over the humble but oh-so precious barbie.
At Barbeques Galore, it became an opportunity to make that experience even more meaningful and enjoyable. “We realised that it’s not just about a barbecue – it’s about the whole service around that barbecue,” explains Angus McDonald. “It’s about all those adjacent products and services that will help you have an even better barbecue experience.”
“We’ve shifted from a stance of wanting to sell something to wanting to show our customers how they can have a great experience. That has been a transformation in our strategy and a redefining of what makes Barbeques Galore special.”
“That transformation has taken a lot of work,” says Angus. “We’ve worked on the brand, we’ve developed new store formats, we’ve introduced new products and developed our range and brands, and – behind the scenes – we’ve put a lot of investment into systems and processes to ensure a seamless, omni-channel experience for our customers.”
And it’s worked, with Barbeques Galore named one of Inside Retail’s coolest brands of 2020.
The integration of the online, in-store and post-purchase experiences will be a critical part of the brand’s reinvention when the full-suite of connected customer journeys are turned on.
“Our team are passionate about the products they sell,” says Angus. “Previously, we hadn’t been making sure all the elements around that passion were in place to make it come to life for the customers. Now, we are leveraging and maximising that passion to deliver a fully engaging customer experience that’s tightly interconnected between each touchpoint along the brand journey.”
Most customers will start with the website. “There is a lot of appetite for and maturity around using digital touchpoints,” explains Angus. “Customers use it to research products before coming into the store. Indeed, we’ve seen the number of customers researching online increase from 50% a few years ago to 70% now.”
“When they arrive in store, they want to be inspired and see that research brought to life in the shop.” Barbeques Galore has met this demand by turning their stores into experience centres.
“It was about discovering the logical opportunities to complete the experience for the customer,” says Angus. “Yes, we are the premier destination for barbecues but we are now offering so much more than just the sale of a single product. We’ve created engaging environments in the right store locations that include a steakhouse for cooking demonstrations and a huge range of innovative products including accessories, marinades and sauces. A third of our sales are now coming from new products.”
Not only can the customer get their hands on the barbecue they’ve researched online, they are invited to join in the fun of learning how to get the most out of it. The expertise offered by the team now covers the item itself, emerging trends in barbecue equipment and accessories, as well as what cuts of meat will work best for that particular customer and how to cook them to perfection. They’ve even partnered with meat suppliers to create an online service BBQ In a Box featuring the best cuts of meat for barbecuing.
“You can smell the barbecue cooking as you’re wandering around the store,” says Angus. “ It’s a great fusion of the digital and physical.”
Data remains crucial to maintaining a consistent omni-channel experience. “We are very focused on feedback and our staff are set up to take immediate action when it’s required or to use feedback to inform our broader strategic plan. Our net promoter score surveys are extremely valuable and we’re excited about the strong NPS scores currently coming through.”
It’s not just customers Barbeques Galore wants to hear from. “We use questionnaires to stay in touch with how our team members are doing. Listening and getting regular feedback from them is just as important.”
The barbecue – icon of the Aussie backyard – is back and better than ever.
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