View all news

Home improvement research on the agenda at symposium


Zuleika Henderson
21 May 2009
Big brand retail stores have revolutionised the way we do home improvements says a researcher from Southern Cross University.

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) candidate Herbert Hermens has begun research to understand the influence of the retail giants, such as Bunnings Warehouse, on the purchasing behaviour of the average DIY enthusiast - and is finding that they wield more power than most of us would imagine.

“The rise of large retailers has had a significant effect on home improvement purchasing,” said Mr Hermens.

“Confidence in the retailer is such that it can change a consumer’s brand of preference - even if that brand has high recognition and is a leader in its field.

“30 years ago a consumer would chase down the tools of a certain brand, but these days they are more likely to just go to large retailer like Bunnings and choose from their selection.

“Consumers feel reassured that they can take products back to exchange them if they are not happy and they are increasingly empowered to take on home improvement jobs they wouldn’t normally have tackled.

“This research aims to examine the reasons behind these shifts in behaviour and look at what it means for the home improvement market in the future.”

Mr Hermens is one of 90 doctoral candidates and academic staff attending the Graduate College of Management’s bi-annual Doctoral Symposium at SCU Riverside at Tweed Heads beginning this Friday, May 22.

Acting director of the Doctor of Business Administration Program Professor Philip Neck said the symposium emphasised the practical applications of the research.

“Southern Cross University has the largest doctoral program in Australia by far – almost 300 students have already graduated from the program and there are nearly 200 currently in preparation for their Doctor of Business Administration through SCU,” said Professor Neck.

“Each of the research projects conducted by these candidates is significant not only because of their theoretical academic importance, but also because they have direct applications for policy measures and professional practice in industry and society in general.

“The symposium is enormously important because it allows candidates from right around the world to meet face-to-face to exchange ideas and look at how they can best disseminate and apply their new ideas to the real world.”

Mr Hermens said he expected his research would be of use to manufacturers and retailers alike.

“The research will have direct implications for manufacturers, who may need to decide if they can produce home brands for the retailer,” said Mr Hermens.

“And of course, it will inform the business strategies of our big name retailers.”

Photo: DBA candidate Herbert Hermens (high resolution image available on request)