Wednesday, 30 November 2011

MFI bathrooms back: kitchens too complex

Albach bathroom suite
Home improvement retailer MFI has bounced back, after three years not trading, as an online retailer offering living, home office and dining room furniture, as well as nine bathroom collections.
Commercial director of MFI, Adrian Storr: "It's just a start for us as we need to get our product offer off the ground".
But the brand, which was synonymous with kitchens, has made the decision not to sell any.
It believes that to restore consumer confidence in the retail brand, following its administration and before the name was acquired by Walker Capital, it must focus on customer service. And the customer issues which dogged MFI were likely to be its kitchen sales.
Commercial director of MFI, Adrian Storr explained: “If you look at the issues that were in MFI previously, from a customer service and delivery point of view, they tended to be around the kitchen category. We shouldn’t underestimate how complex that is; to be able deliver a complete kitchen to a customer. There are about 250 separate components [in a kitchen sale] and if you’ve got one of those components missing, it could be that you can’t go ahead with your kitchen. And, obviously, it’s a big disruption to a household, not to have a functioning kitchen. It becomes very emotional and obviously that’s why it becomes very detrimental to the retailer that can’t deliver to what they’ve promised to the customer.”
Storr continued: “The furniture that we’re focusing on is predominantly a centre floor product and we had a very good service and reputation on this type of product. [MFI] was probably tainted by the complexity of the kitchen proposition.”
The home improvement company has now developed a five-stage checking process, with its 20 suppliers, to ensure deliveries are met for when consumers requested them.
However, MFI is not ruling out the opportunity of expanding into kitchens, as Storr said: “It’s not something that we’ve completely dismissed but my guidance is we only do it when it’s absolutely 100% robust.”
Although MFI has only just relaunched, the website had  hundreds of hits "and heading to a thousand", at 10.00am on the day of its launch.

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