Our own store has always been our dream

Karin (22) and Joost (23) run their own Hubo in Maasdam, with a mix of a good basis, healthy entrepreneurship, a great team and the support of the Hubo formula. Smart shop automation helps them streamline and professionalize the shop, processes and returns. “We never thought this would ever become a reality.”

In Hubo Maasdam we speak with Joost (23) and Karin (22). They have been co-owners since the summer of 2021 and are ultimately responsible for this store.

The entrepreneurial couple may be young, but they already have much DIY retail experience. Joost has worked in the store since he was 15, and Nicole since she was 16. It started part-time next to my school and grew into entrepreneurship.

Joost: “This has always been our dream, but we never thought it would be possible. Until Arnold Boudesteyn presented his succession plan to us. He started in the shop at 20 and wanted to do something else before he turned 40. That gave us the opportunity.”

Stock is always up to date

Their eyes twinkle as they talk about their store and how they run it. It is hard work, a store of 3,000 m2 with about twenty-five colleagues. Regarding the division of tasks, Jeroen mainly does the floor, and Karin mainly does the planning. They do everything together.

Hubo’s shop automation makes it easy for entrepreneurs. “It’s not that we’re working less now,” laughs Karin. “But we spend our time on other things now. More on the customers, for example.” This does not only apply to Joost and Karin but also their employees. Joost: “We now run on stock management. This means that the entire stock is continuously 100% in the system. That is a must for the link with the webshop. The stock we have in store must match what the website indicates.”

Detail insights

Paul van Essen, commercial manager of Hubo and John van Lieshout, team leader of Retail management of Hubo in South-West Netherlands, join in. Van Essen: “New generations choose Hubo. This also demands more from the (digital) processes, which is why Hubo continues to innovate. However, inventory management is nothing new. Instead of only counting your stock on 1 January and having to check the shelf with your reading pen all year round, you are now perfectly organised all year round.” Joost estimates that it will save up to 16 hours a week. 

“Look at that, you can spend those hours on your customers after all.” Joost agrees: “Moreover, I have a better grip on things. I can now see how deep the stock is and can link it to my turnover. The stock can go down if I have four pieces of something while I only sell it once a year. And vice versa, the stock can be increased if something turns out to be sold more often than was foreseen in the shelf plan.”

Own freedom

The next step is automatic ordering, indicate Van Lieshout and Van Essen. “First fine-tune,” says Karin. “Then we will do that completely.” However, about a quarter of this store has its range, and Jeroen is proud of that. He also thinks it’s really cool to do business himself and respond to customers. “Of all Hubos, we do best in building materials. For example, we also have many decorations, furniture, promotional goods, and even living plants. I think the space for our own interpretation is very cool.”

The fact that the rest of the store is well-serviced by Hubo also gives him the freedom to do that. Van Essen recalls the 760 digital shelf plans that Hubo has. “That includes all variants, right? But we do go very far so that entrepreneurs can make the best choice for their store, area of care and customer.”

More insight and grip

Shelf plans are just one way of support. Automation is another. The Smarter Store, they call it. Stock management and automatic ordering are crucial components of this. Van Essen: “Based on this, our entrepreneurs have more control over their business, and our store advisors will soon be able to help them with a 360-degree projection. In 2023, such a projection will give our members and DGN more insight into the ins and outs of their company. At the moment, we are finalising the implementation, and we have one of the best BI platforms. There you can see what is happening, also concerning colleagues and competitors. For example, you can sometimes see that it is smarter to place one slightly smaller and enlarge the other slightly to achieve a higher return on the meter.” All these intelligent things make things easier for entrepreneurs and make the store more profitable.

Fluid processes

Joost: “This shop used to be a Formido. Since the transition to Hubo, we have been running on the Hubo systems here, but the processes on the floor often still run in the Formido way, which means that we do not use all the possibilities. That is different now.”

He gives the order flow of customer orders as an example, which now runs very smoothly, up to and including the automatic e-mail to customers when the order has been received. And also the message if that is not the case. Jeroen: “We used to print a lot. Now we put everything in the system. If you adjust something in one place, it immediately changes in the other, and everything remains perfect for everyone.”

Professionally arranged

The field service has also been completely digitised, says Karin. “Previously, everything was done with receipts. And what a mess if one was lost. Then we had to call that customer and measure again. A waste of time, annoying for the customer and rather unprofessional.” Now the entire customer journey is in one system. From making the appointment, the measured sizes, situation photos, the quotation, the internal order list, the assembly appointment and the packing slips to load the bus for the job, up to and including the statement of approval and the payment module, including payment link when everything is satisfactorily installed.

“Very handy”, conclude Karin and Joost. What they also find useful is the intranet and the Hubo app. There they can find all kinds of information themselves, and they can delegate tasks to their colleagues. For example, if a category manager asks to adjust a shelf in a certain week, they can delegate this to the department manager as a task, including a deadline. “Easy, clear and very fast.”

Self-scan checkout

In all the enthusiasm of the conversation, we almost forget the self-scan checkout as part of the smarter store. “We wondered whether that would suit Hubo,” says Van Lieshout. “How that relates to our personal contact. But it really works.” In Maasdam, too, 1 in 4 customers pay via the self-scan. Van Essen: “Really a lot, huh? In smaller stores, we see that entrepreneurs like that they can refer customers to the self-scan if they are in a consultation meeting themselves. But this also works in larger stores. There we sometimes see one cashier manning four self-scan units so that she has more time for customers. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? It’s all about the customer.”

DGN retail, Hubo,, info@euretco.com, www.hubo.nl

Read the original article on mixonline.nl

Montfoort, February 2023

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