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How Hobbycraft Kept the United Kingdom Creative During Lockdown

Hobbycraft is the United Kingdom’s largest arts and crafts retailer with over 90 stores across the UK. They’re proud to be the first national retailer to cater to more than 250 different activities all under one roof. Hobbycraft offers everything that is needed for art, knitting and crochet, haberdashery, papercraft, wedding and parties, baking, jewelry making, and more.

While using the Bloomreach Commerce Experience Cloud in early 2020, Hobbycraft saw:

increase in searches to 2.4 million
The Growth
of new customers, now making up 55% of their entire customer base
Direct and organic
traffic soar by scaling content and pivoting away from paid media

The Challenge

During lockdown, Hobbycraft saw the demand for jigsaws, pavement chalk, and kids’ paint had more than doubled. The searches for jigsaws had been increased by 380% and the searches for kids paint and for chalk (for decorating pavements) had been surged by 398% and 654% respectively. The high customer demand was driven by customers seeking out crafting for the first time to provide activities to fill their time.

The Solution

Some of the key features within Bloomreach that have been instrumental to the Hobbycraft team’s success include Content Management and Merchandising, which allowed the team to create and edit pages on the fly with the best product placements for their goals — all without depending on IT — and Search and Personalization which leverage industry-leading AI to personalize the site and product discovery experience for each Hobbycraft customer.

Using these tools, Hobbycraft modified its approach to marketing, switching off all paid media whilst at the same time increasing content that has driven direct and organic traffic.

The Results

As a result of its new engagement strategy, the company has seen a large increase in new customers. Along with leveraging Bloomreach Commerce Experience Cloud to easily create new and engaging content and personalized site experiences, Hobbycraft hit the ground running with tons of new initiatives during the lockdown.

Hobbycraft’s distribution center has been completely redesigned — first and foremost to ensure its colleagues can operate in safe conditions — but also to cater to increased demand in online orders. The team has re-engineered the entire distribution operation to ensure that their colleagues are able to work in a safe and secure environment and observe social distancing while doubling the number of packing benches and modifying delivery propositions to support colleague and customer experiences.

In addition to those key business changes, Hobbycraft hosted daily kids’ craft club for crafting challenges, project inspiration, tips, and tutorials to keep both parents and children entertained and busy. Hobbycraft also supported an increase in customers asking for crafting material donations to make essentials for NHS workers.