Kingfisher, the international home improvement company, and Google Cloud have announced a new, five-year strategic partnership to enhance Kingfisher's digital capabilities as it helps usher in retail's next digital age.
Kingfisher has 1,500 stores internationally, 80,000 full-time colleagues, and a brand portfolio that includes B&Q, Castorama, Screwfix, Brico Dépôt and Koçtaş.
By capitalising on Google Cloud's infrastructure, platform services, and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, Kingfisher, its retail brands and customers will see a host of benefits. These include greater website uptime, better forecasting, more seamless customer-centric experiences, improved personalisation, and world-class engineering support from Google Cloud.
Kingfisher is also one of the largest SAP enterprise users in Europe and is already migrating on-premise legacy workloads to Google Cloud. This is unlocking faster and more flexible access to its existing data as it prepares for the digital future. At the same time, Google Cloud's open approach will allow Kingfisher to continue with its multicloud strategy.
The partnership with Google Cloud stems from a clear alignment of product-first values, with both organisations prioritising user experience, led by engineering innovation. Adopting Google Cloud technologies will allow Kingfisher to streamline its existing e-commerce platform, while experimenting with advanced testing environments at much lower cost. This will provide the freedom, speed, and value it needs to respond more effectively to shifting market conditions, and to continue offering first-class customer service across its brands.
"At Kingfisher, we have an ambitious technology strategy in place. Google Cloud is an engineering organisation at its heart, while simultaneously understanding the complex retail landscape. As we look to the next phase of growth and the kind of talent we want to attract, this meeting of minds was a real draw for us," said JJ Van Oosten, Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Kingfisher. "To reach our goal of creating a world-class engineering centre, we need a technology stack that will support us to experiment and move quickly. Google Cloud is helping to position us as a true digital leader, and our global teams and customers will benefit as a result."
Kingfisher already has significant digital innovation plans underway. Projects for this new partnership will include replatforming the Screwfix e-commerce site to make it one-hundred times faster, which will enhance its ability to deliver on the fastest non-food delivery service worldwide. Meanwhile, the B&Q brand will now be able to scale up from 300,000 products online to more than four million in the coming years, thanks to the growth of its online marketplace.
In addition, Kingfisher plans to create a new, real-time order system that will vastly improve stock accuracy, and deploy visual search using Google Cloud AI tools to help customers discover the product replacements that most closely match their needs.
"We're proud to work with Kingfisher to optimise, accelerate, and grow its ambitions. Partnering with global retail leaders like Kingfisher to help create even better in-store and online shopping experiences for customers is a key indicator of the power of the cloud to digitally transform retail," said Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud.