If you’re a regular reader of DIY Week last month, you will have no doubt seen our insights director, Emma Dicks last month, sharing her thoughts on how brands and retailers in the sector can improve in-store engagement in the face of changing shopper behaviour.
If you missed it, you can read her opinion article in full below:
Today, shoppers buy paint as fashion. Most households choose colour for their walls in the same way as female shoppers choose cosmetics. It’s even possible to buy bathroom fittings, paint and even garden gravel from retailers such as Next and Tesco.
But achieving success for DIY retailers in-store is about much more than making traditionally ‘hard’ retail environments softer, more inviting and appealing. Yes, sometimes finding the right power tool or screws remains paramount.
Instead, it’s about making the shopping experience easier and more enjoyable, helping shoppers to make more informed purchase decisions, and putting products together to present solutions – if this is your project, this is what you need, this is how you use them, this is what you need to do to achieve your desired outcome.
This solutions-based focus has a significant impact on approaches to in-store promotions, too. While multiple-buy offers may drive unplanned volume sales within the grocery sector, there are few of us who would replenish our sheds or garages with a couple of tins of paint just because they were on promotion. It requires retailers to think carefully how they package, coordinate and promote offers in-store.
Shopper age is another key influencer on how people approach DIY shopping. When it comes to appealing to younger DIYers, it’s important to recognise that whilst this group may have an active interest in home-improvements, they are less likely to be doing DIY. Many simply do not have the knowledge and skills of previous generations, let alone enough precious spare time on their hands. Instead, they are much more inclined to pay someone to do it, rather than do
It’s perhaps one reason why the alignment of the trade and communication with trade is such a hot ticket right now. Regardless of what customers are shopping for in-store, from a kitchen down to a light, many probably still won’t have the time to fit or install it themselves when they get home. Indeed, a growing number are often buying in-store on behalf of trade – purchasing materials direct to save a few pounds. There is therefore a need for the retail space to link customers and trade – turning the trade into ‘salesman’ by encouraging customers to trade up, in terms of the products they’re buying.
The growth in the number of renters amongst younger consumers, unable to get on the property ladder, also means that retailers must be much more focused on communicating lighter DIY and decoration project solutions in-store, not simply just on large-scale home improvements.
Meanwhile, Mintel research has found that as shoppers grow older, they view DIY tasks as something that has to be done only when it is absolutely necessary. Despite this, research suggests that 84% of 55-64-year-olds have shopped for DIY in the past year, versus 83% of 25-34-year-olds. For these shoppers, however, the shopping mission is often less about home improvement, and more about repairs and maintenance.
Older shoppers therefore need to be re-excited, whilst younger shoppers require inspiration and advice to help them turn ideas into reality. The unifying theme that bridges both is that DIY stores must become ‘ideas centres’ that genuinely add value to the shopping experience. The quest for greater engagement in-store has led to growing investment in digital retail displays – making the search for inspiration more interactive. The trick is being able to connect the various elements together, seamlessly. DIY remains quite tactile and visual and it can’t always be translated in a screen. For the record, there are also plenty of people born after 1995 who are not singularly interested in consuming words and pictures off a backlit screen.
What is clear is that shoppers are no longer satisfied with retailers that simply ‘put stuff on shelves’. They want a physical retail experience that gives them reasons to leave home and makes the buying experience feel much more ‘personal to me’ – holding their hand to guide, support, and enable them to complete both the in-store and DIY project journey with real confidence.