Storytelling and Bunnings Warehouse

In Australia we all love Bunnings.

Bunnings Warehouse is where you buy anything you need for your home.

You can buy Christmas lights, herbs and a waterslide.

You can support your local football club by purchasing a sausage.

The staff smile at you and say hello each time you walk past, almost like they mean it.

For a wholesome business, they make a lot of money.

In FY20, Bunnings did $14.9 billion in revenue, up 14% YoY. They have 50% market share of all DIY-related spend in Australia.

They are owned by Australian conglomerate Westfarmers, who also own Kmart, Officeworks, Target, Catch, and, oh yeah, Coles.

What you may not realise is that the Bunnings brand and in-store experience is meticulously crafted.

It’s no accident that you feel the way you feel when you walk through the front doors.

Every time you step into any of the 300+ stores you will find that your experience is very similar.

Every time you hear the ‘Lowest prices are just the beginning’ jingle on TV you might think of hot summers, building things in the backyard or how you really need to buy a new BBQ.

The team behind Bunnings are master storytellers.

This brand didn’t evolve by accident. Every touch, smile and smell is produced on purpose, designed as part of a narrative to forget the reason you came and keep you coming back.

The story that Bunnings are trying to tell us is that they are the cheapest place to buy the things you need and the staff are local, friendly people just like you.


  1. The warehouse

Bunnings is not a warehouse. It is based on the American ‘mega-store’ strategy, where it feels like prices are cheaper simply because there is so much stock.

The sheer scale of choice and space makes you think that this is the place Bunnings have chosen to store all their spare products and as a result you’re in for a bargain.

Of course this is not true.

The space, smell and dirty floors are all psychological tactics to draw you in to get you to spend more than you intended.

Some mega-store executives have joked that it costs more to keep the floors dirty than clean.

Cleaners are probably instructed to keep the floors just the right amount of dusty.

It’s all part of the narrative.

2. Pricing

Bunnings often choose to price stock using irregular numbers. For example, they sell hammers for $8.45, $37.97, and $62. 

Apparently the theory is a that by using specific numbers it will make customers think the price has been lowered to warehouse level prices.

Every price in the store is intentional. And they are constantly experimenting with stock placement, pricing and merchandise to find what works.

Most things you need are intentionally located towards the back of the store, to get you to walk through as many aisles as possible. (also the same reason why milk is at the back in the supermarket)

3. Staff in ads

Bunnings staff are trained to smile and ask if you need anything. This is good old fashioned customer support.

They also use real staff members in their ads, instead of paid actors, to give off the vibe that they are an authentic, local shop run like small business.

Bunnings don’t want to give the impression that they are wasting money on flashy ads, because this could mean prices are inflated.

It’s all part of the story.

Cool story, what does this mean for me?

Everything we do tells our customer a story about who we are and who are products are for.

Every bug

Every support request

Every podcast

Every blog post

Every release

Every email

Every interaction is a signal to our users about who the product is for, or should be for.

If we don’t control the story, we leave it open to interpretation. (think Westworld)

Two questions to reflect on:

  1. What story do we want to tell?
  2. Are we telling a consistent story?

In other words; if our floors are dusty, let’s make sure they are dusty every day.

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