The last two years have seen a seismic shift in shopping behaviour. In recent years, especially so with the movement of millennials and Gen Z into their prime spending years, there has been a significant growth in e-commerce. Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic was the catalyst for an acceleration into this retail channel, and although we are seeing a return of customers in physical stores, the e-commerce channel has reached a new relevance.
The Digitization of the DIY sector
The DIY and home improvement sector has not escaped this digitalisation. Although slower to feel the influence of this than other sectors, for example the fashion sector, DIY and home improvement are also facing a digital future.
The shopping process in do-it-yourself stores has shifted and the importance of online channels has grown. Furthermore, customers are not only purchasing products online, but are also searching for inspiration and assistance in projects in these online channels also.
How DIY retailers can take better advantage of e-commerce
Consumer interest in do-it-yourself projects continues to grow online, and digital marketing has transformed the home improvement and DIY sector. Customers can now be inspired from the comfort of their own homes with the comfort of their own devices. Through social media channels, such as Instagram and Pinterest, customers can be motivated to initiate new DIY projects.
How to digitize DIY shopping?
Additionally, the future of the physical store will also blend with the digital. The question still remains on how to digitalize and improve the DIY shopping experience in the most efficient way possible, and retailers continue to trial new methods to do this. For example, in-store navigation should enable customers to have a targeted shopping experience, as well as allowing them to plan their shopping experience from the comfort of their homes, resulting in a more frictionless shopping experience overall.
The trend of hardware and DIY marketplaces
A growing number of retailers are also moving into building, establishing and promoting their own online marketplaces, which differ from e-commerce as they support multiple sellers, to compete with the likes of Amazon, eBay and other services. Two recent examples of this are Kingfisher in the UK, who set up a marketplace through their B&Q website DIY.com, and Leroy Merlin in Brazil, South Africa and France who also established their own marketplaces in these countries.
Advantages of selling in a marketplace
These “virtual department stores” offer numerous benefits, predominantly opening the retailer and supplier to a new customer base, offering the increased potential of cross-border shipping and selling through a reputable and trusted brand. And how do marketplaces make profit? The most common models are through commission, subscriptions, lead fees or listing fees.
Although predominately viewed as a tactile sector, in which consumers prefer to touch and test their products before buying, the DIY and home improvement industry is clearly facing a digital future. Consumers are increasingly not only purchasing products online, but also searching for inspiration and assistance in their DIY project needs.
E-commerce in DIY is no longer in its infancy stage, there is still potential for DIY retailers to take better advantage of e-commerce. Many retailers still have a long way to go to reach this market potential, especially so considering this market is continuously expanding. For example, some of the key retailers in the DIY sector still do not have their own apps available on the Play or Apple store, and these kinds of fundamentals will become a necessity in the near future.