No one could have predicted the many twists and turns that retail has taken in 2020, including huge shifts in consumer spending habits as a result of coronavirus restrictions. However, it’s not all bad news. DIY retailers have experienced a boom as consumers have used the time at home to invest in their homes and gardens.
ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks, shared: “August saw a burst of DIY fever, created because people stuck at home for months realised all the jobs that needed doing as soon as lockdown eased. Hardware, paint and glass stores’ sales were up 12.9% compared to the pre-Covid levels of February.”
This continued through to September when the BRC-KPMG tracked an increase in total sales of sales of home office products and other household goods by 5.6%.
How long will this last, though?
People typically revamp their homes for Christmas as they anticipate an influx of visitors, meaning further spending increase for retailers in this sector. However, will this trend continue in 2020 – even with such uncertainty around the festivities?
Russ Mould, Investment Director at AJ Bell, commented: “DFS [which saw sofa sales increase dramatically over the summer] has effectively had an early Christmas present, and possibly seen a boost normally associated with Boxing Day and New Year sales. But one has to wonder if DFS has already seen its peak earnings season this year.”
Despite the many question marks over the month ahead, there are still plenty of things home improvement retailers can do to encourage spending in the run up to Christmas. Here are our tips:
- Take a leaf out of Home Depo’s book
Home Depo, the largest home improvement retailer in the US, has committed to an extended period of Black Friday specials which will last nearly two months. Part of this move is to help cut down on Black Friday crowds, since a packed store is considered a high-risk activity. However, the retailer is also hoping to experience an increase in sales by extending the discount period.
Not only this, but Home Depot has recognised the risk of stay-at-home trends dwindling, as it has amped up its efforts into selling seasonal décor, such as artificial trees, snowman lawn inflatables, and strings of Christmas lights.
In addition, it is collaborating with Pinterest to inspire customers to home-make gifts, and it will push users towards its mobile app.
- Create an in-store experience online
A survey in February found that 77% of consumers prefer to purchase DIY items in-store. But when faced with lockdowns, how can this be achieved?
Well, our retail partner, Grass Warehouse, has experienced success when shifting its showroom experience from in-store to online. This includes giving customers a wide range of artificial grass products they can browse in peace, encouraging customers to ask questions, and making sure they only buy when they’re ready to. It also provides a range of alternative payment options, such as Point of Sale finance which has increased its conversions.
- Conduct maintenance across your sales channels
Website maintenance is part and parcel when it comes to running an ecommerce store. This means checking broken links, bad backlinks, connectivity issues, load times, and anything else that could stilt the customer experience.
Even just a 2-second delay in load time can result in abandonment rates of up to 87%. On mobiles, 53% of site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than three seconds to load – which is increasingly important since more than a third of us now shop on our smartphones.
- Personalise the experience and reward loyalty
Online tools can make it even easier to show your customers you value them – try adding competitions and giveaways for loyal consumers or using email marketing and social media to capture their attention.
Not only this, but loyalty schemes are much easier to implement online. For example, some retailers offer discounts and freebies for repeat customers via a points system, which is a great way to reward multiple visits.
- Provide choice at the checkout
Successful online retailers offer a wide variety of choice and flexibility at the checkout. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, enabling customers to spread the cost of large purchases with interest free credit is a great way to personalise the payments process – especially during a time like now when finances are more precarious.
It also gives consumers another reason to do their Christmas shopping with you. Take a look at our retailer success stories for more on this.
For more advice on preparing your online website for Christmas, speak to us today