K-Rauta: Dream Builder makes renovating easy
Today, Finnish consumers perform less renovation work on their own than before. The ageing and prospering population rather purchases services from professionals. K-Rauta wants to meet the needs of the market and make it easier to use their services. The key to achieving this is digital services.
“We wanted to develop a customer-oriented service concept, which connects end customers, who are renovating their homes, to businesses offering renovating services. In the future, the Renovation Master service concept, which was started with the support of Tekes’ programme, will serve an extensive network of people in Finland,” says Sari Hujanen, K Group’s Development Director of Building and Technical Trade. K-Rauta is one of K Group’s building and technical trade industry chains.
Renovation Master is the project manager of the customer’s home renovation project and helps the customer with all steps from planning to implementation. The multi-channel service concept includes web and mobile applications, and it has already been tested in stores since the autumn of 2016.
“We started by finding out if anything similar had been developed abroad. Our aim is to utilise service design to better understand the challenges the customer faces, as well as all stages of the customer experience,” says Sanna Pekkola, K Group’s Development Manager of Building and Technical Trade.
Renovation Master can also be taken abroad, which corresponds to the internationalisation goals of Tekes’ Feelings programme. K-Rauta currently has stores in Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Russia.
K-Rauta’s service concept has been successfully tested with kitchen and bathroom renovation projects. The customer gets a mobile application on their mobile phone, through which they receive information on the progress of the renovation and can directly communicate with a salesperson. The customer can also explore their future kitchen or bathroom in a 3D environment using VR glasses.
“We have only received positive feedback from customers on the use of the application,” says Jesse Iskanius, Renovation Salesperson at K-Rauta Lahdesjärvi in Tampere.
“Thanks to Renovation Master, the progress of a renovation project commissioned by a customer is fully transparent. There are no surprises for the customer, when they can follow the renovation in real time through the application,” Pekkola says.
“In addition to customers, the application has also provided the salespeople of K-Rauta with a digital leap into the present day. As the project progressed, we noticed that our salespeople did not have proper tools for managing renovation projects,” Hujanen adds.
K Group organised its first ever hackathon event to find new ideas to digitise the service of K-Rauta and K-Rautia stores. Hackathons, which have become more popular in recent years, aim to develop innovative solutions for a topic chosen by the organiser at a rapid schedule.
“I was previously unfamiliar with the concept of hackathon. Within the scope of this project, I have been able to do many things for the first time in my career, which has opened up entirely new opportunities,” Hujanen says.
K Group’s #rautahack hackathon was won by Siili Solutions, who came up with the idea for a communication service, which the renovating customer and an expert from the store can use to communicate with each other.
"Our aim has been to take bold steps, and to not always take the most familiar paths. Hackathon is a concrete example of this,” Hujanen states.
A total of eight companies participated in the K Group hackathon. K Group still works in cooperation with several companies that participated in the hackathon event.
K Group’s Building and Technical Trade branch gives Tekes a full score for easy and fruitful cooperation.
"The cooperation has been very effortless. Tekes reporting gives projects a lift. In addition, Tekes is currently genuinely customer-oriented, and we get answers to our questions very fast,” Hujanen praises.
“A Tekes project is an effective way to learn about project work. Because of reporting, the company must perform the determined tasks. It makes sense for the company – also in the future,” Pekkola adds.
For further information, please contact:
Global Development Manager, B2C business
K Group Building and Technical Trade
Text: Kaiku Helsinki