Friends had told us that they had got some great buys from The Range when they had been re-vamping their bedroom and suggested we give it a try when we said we were after a rug for our lounge.
We had a very quick look on their website and liked their positioning of having everything you need for a stylish home at affordable prices. The site showed a good selection of rugs and as we were visiting that side of town we decided to pay a visit.
There wasn’t a sign indicating where to turn off the main road to the store but we had seen on the website that it was on Crompton Way. However we weren’t prepared for how quickly we would come across the site and its location was identified by a rather insignificant and grubby roadside sign – hence we missed the turning and drove past. Presumably lots of other potential customers had missed the entrance too!
Walking into the store we were surprised at its great size and the huge amount of stock that there was. We looked around for carpets or rugs but couldn’t see any helpful store signs. We then spotted some rugs above eye level on the walls in one corner of the store, in an area under a banner saying Furniture. We walked straight to this section passing all sorts of stock– it seemed like an Aladdin’s cave of items which were randomly sited.
The rugs were a good selection and reasonable prices. We were able to look through the range easily although it would have been helpful to have been able to get the rugs down to lay flat on the floor as the colour tones vary so much with the light. We weren’t 100% sure about any of the rugs so decided not to buy but we were intrigued by all that was around us, so set about to have a good look.
The store was signed by ceiling hanging banners, in a variety of colours, indicating very general areas and making it a little difficult to find anything specific. As we walked around we were amazed at the stock on offer – wedding accessories to washing machines! Having seen the TV advert we had got the impression that it was a bigger and better B & M – we were very wrong. The more we saw the more we realised that various themes had been thought through, with lots of co-ordinating ranges. Everything was clearly priced and neatly presented. There were a few specialist stands dotted around the store with DVD’s running promoting the product and showing how they worked. On one stand however, we were a bit confused by the images of a foot exfoliation massager but with a range of bras underneath!
The staff we spoke to were very good. An assistant in the furniture section approached us to ask if he could be of help and politely answered our queries about delivery times of the beds. When we asked another assistant in the soft furnishing section about the bedding ranges, she very enthusiastically promoted the quality, style and price, particularly comparing to Dunelm, which she said a lot of customers did, but leaving us in no doubt that she The Range was superior on all fronts!
We were tempted as we walked around and selected 4 items that we hadn’t come to buy; – tyre dressing (because it was a great price – much cheaper than Halfords!), a DVD (that we’d been meaning to buy for a while), some light bulbs (that when we saw them jogged our memory that we needed them), and some bedding (purely on impulse because we liked it!).
We had a look in the Garden Centre, which was the only area we weren’t impressed with. We didn’t think that the prices were particularly good and some of the plants didn’t look very healthy. Although there was an extensive selection of some things e.g. garden gloves, in most there didn’t look to be the choice that we would get at one of the specialist Garden Centres.
Although we didn’t buy a rug, The Range beat our expectations, which we had based mainly on the TV ad, and we would definitely go back whenever we wanted something for our home or just for an interesting shopping experience!
viewpoint: Advertising is a funny old business; it can position a business clearly and properly, creating an unmistakable impression of what you do, as well as a lasting message that implants itself in the minds of your target market. Or, it can miss, sometimes just by a bit and create the wrong or just not quite right impression amongst some consumers. The Range truly is an Aladdin’s cave of merchandise assortment The Range’s strapline of ‘If we don’t sell it, you don’t need it’, is a good one. However the comical execution of the TV ad underplays and undermines the shopping experience that can be had.
The Range could, we believe, do it differently and better!
Anonymous Shopper for: The Market Creative, Manchester
For more details contact: graham@themarketcreative.com