E-commerce News South Africa

Builders launches tool to help shoppers source hard-to-find products - even those it doesn't stock

Massmart-owned home improvement, DIY and building materials retailer Builders has launched a new online tool called Product Finder, in an effort to assist customers on their hunt for those impossible-to-find items.
Source: Supplied
Source: Supplied

As exciting as taking on a new project can be, struggling to find the right power tool, paint colour, or exotic door handle can quickly dampen enthusiasm.

This new Product Finder tool utilises a team of Builders sales specialists to locate and source niche décor and outdoor products, a tool, storage solutions, or fittings, whether customers saw the item online, spotted it in a magazine, or encountered it outside the country. Notably, the platform can also source products the retailer itself doesn't stock.

The team receives orders uploaded to the track and trace system and can either source requests in-house using Builders vendors or source products from external vendors if the retailer doesn't stock that specific item.

“In the last two years we have seen a surge in South Africans spending more time at home online to search for solutions to fix or improve their homes. Builders has always had the 'we will find it for you' philosophy although there was not a dedicated way to ensure that we do deliver on these requests or any way to track requests and follow up on the leads. The Product Finder Tool means that we can now deliver on this in a seamless and efficient manner”, says Nicole le Roux, senior manager digital sales, Builders.

According to a recent Statista report looking into South Africa’s mobile internet user penetration 2018-2027, in 2022, 78.6% of the South African population accessed the internet via mobile device. This share is projected to grow to over 90% by the end of 2026 indicating a massive potential for digital e-commerce solutions.

“Our new digitised track and trace system merges this convenience of e-commerce that our customers have grown to love with the Builders’ commitment to going the extra mile to provide the most valuable shopping experience possible. As a result, we can help even more of our loyal customers find whatever they’re looking for, no matter how niche it is,” says Trevor Perumal, VP commercial, Builders.

Identifying search trends

Builders says the new tool will also help the retailer determine which products to include in its in-store range based on search trends and that it will continuously monitor the platform and scale its team to ensure it can keep up with the demand.

The retailer notes that the entire process is transparent to customers, who receive a trace number that they can use to track their product progress from initialisation to the finalisation of their request.

To access the platform, customers need to:

  • Navigate to the Product Finder tool on the Builders website
  • Leave their contact details so they can describe the product they’re looking for over the phone or manually input the product details or upload a picture online
  • Confirm the order description they’ll receive from the sales specialist
  • Accept or reject the quote, which includes a picture of the sourced item
  • Check out and proceed to payment if they’re happy with their product
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