As the pandemic confined us all to our homes for month after month, something happened. All over the world, people started looking at their homes with new eyes, and as a result, they invested in their homes in a whole new way. This is probably why DIY ecommerce is among the fastest-growing sectors right now and why brands are scrambling to adapt their sales processes to a fully digital buyer journey.
Ecommerce for the DIY and home improvement market has surpassed physical stores by a 6 to 1 ratio in the past year. The amount of money Americans have spent on home improvement in the last year was the highest ever. And with online competition growing increasingly fierce, DIY brands now have to distinguish themselves with an exceptional and modern customer experience to achieve and maintain growth.
Related reading: Anticipate Disruption With a Digital Experience Strategy
A survey by Ascential found that 76% of homeowners in the United States had carried out at least one home improvement project since the start of the pandemic. Both Home Depot and Lowes cited record numbers of downloads month after month, equating to a 70% rise Year over Year from 2019 to 2020.
So, how can DIY merchants take advantage of all this new traffic and visibility?
Replacing Physical Stores With Digital Experiences
Traditionally, DIY and home improvement have long been associated with physical stores and the need for personal support and advice from subject-matter experts. The key to success is to replace the traditional way of walking into a brick-and-mortar store and asking for expert help with a digital experience that is even more personalized and informative. The companies who manage to create the same sense of support and safety in an online store as when you enter a physical DIY store will be the ones who win.
The need for curated online experiences is continuing to evolve, and customer expectations have never been higher. There are some modern and unique techniques that you can use to set your digital experience apart. This article will highlight a few of the standards that customers have come to expect and a few that could set you apart from your competition.
Create an Outstanding Customer Journey
The best way to truly stand out online is to focus on creating an impeccable customer experience. Shopping from your brand should be a memorable experience, one that people tell their friends about. To achieve that, you need to be aware of every single touchpoint where your prospective and existing customers come in contact with your company. By turning each touchpoint into a content-rich encounter, you start building that positive relationship that eventually turns into business. By leveraging personalization and paying attention to your visitors' behavior, you can use an intelligent recommendation engine to guide your prospects to the content most relevant for them.
“With a visualization tool like Threekit you can view the product in a room of your home
and make a better decision about the style, fit and color, reducing the need for ordering
multiple items and greatly impacting returns.” - Brian Dearth, Head of Strategy, Vaimo
Provide Omnichannel Customer Service
Providing an omnichannel experience is becoming a hygiene factor in ecommerce, but it's extra important in some industries. DIY is one such industry where availability can truly make or break your business. A DIY project can be very stressful when things go wrong, and if your customer can't reach you to get the support they need, their experience will be very negative. If, on the other hand, you're available in any channel they prefer and can offer immediate help, then you have a chance of turning even seemingly disastrous situations into positive encounters.
Channels to consider for customer service include:
- Live chat
- Video chat
- Social media
Related reading: What is Omnichannel Retailing
Want more advice on this topic?
Double Down on UGC (User-Generated Content)
Today, as people go about their DIY projects, they share their journey online. Whether it's building a pool, laying a new roof, or simply repainting the garden furniture, a more significant portion of your customers will be making social media updates about their progress and results. That means social media is a goldmine for DIY brands. User-generated content is a valuable marketing asset that can help you gain visibility with new audiences and build trust with your existing ones. Reviews, ratings, photos, and videos—whatever the medium and platform, UGC is something you want to encourage, collect, and leverage. We work with companies like Yotpo who offer AI-powered solutions to turn customer content into sales by collecting and leveraging reviews, ratings, and Q&A. People will always trust other people more than the company selling them something, which is why nothing beats happy customers voluntarily sharing their experiences.
Create Detailed and In-Depth Content
For people to embark on DIY projects, they need to feel safe knowing they can find the information they need. By supplying an abundance of guides, tutorials, and other educational content, you will help your customers feel confident that they can handle whatever problem may arise as they go about their DIY project. Creating detailed and in-depth content with valuable tips and tricks will not only help you convert visitors to customers, but also bring more visitors to your site, as that type of content is excellent for SEO (search engine optimization). Examples of valuable content include:
- Articles with tips and tricks
- Interviews with happy customers about their finished projects
- Video tutorials
- Inspirational content showing what your products look like once installed
Make Sure Deliveries and Returns are Ultra-Smooth
An essential part of the buying experience is the delivery. Are you offering options that are convenient for your clients? The pandemic accelerated our digital habits, and consumers have become accustomed to a wide array of delivery options to choose from. Examples of delivery options that are relevant for DIY ecommerce include:
- Express delivery
- Curb-side delivery
- Click and Collect
Related reading: Enhance Your Ecommerce Strategy With Click and Collect
Another aspect of your ecommerce operation that needs to run smoothly is the returns. Reassuring customers about the ease of returns on your website will help you increase conversions. And ensuring they're working well and are easy to make will contribute to a positive DIY ecommerce experience.
Offer Expert Help Through Partners
When it comes to DIY and home improvement projects, confidence and trust are essential factors. If you can, team up with licensed distributors in your area who can offer expert advice and support or connect customers with craftsmen familiar with your brand. In that case, that can be the thing that makes people want to start that project they'd otherwise be hesitant about taking on.
Start a Newsletter
A great way to build a loyal audience is by sending out a regular newsletter with tips, advice, tutorials, and inspiration. Then you can publish the email on your website and create an ever-growing archive of information about your products. A frequent cadence of highlighted DIY projects with detailed instructions and listings of products is an efficient way to inspire future purchases and keep customers returning. A newsletter is also great for campaigns, offers, and coupons and can be used to create a VIP community around your brand.
Ecommerce for the DIY and home improvement market is growing at a very rapid pace, accelerated by the pandemic. Never before have people been spending this much money on improving their homes, and never before have such a large portion of that money been spent online. Meanwhile, as brands are waking up to this, competition is growing increasingly fierce.
The 7 following tips will help your DIY ecommerce experience stand out:
- Create an outstanding customer journey
- Provide omnichannel customer service
- Double down on UGC (User-Generated Content)
- Create detailed and in-depth content
- Make sure deliveries and returns are ultra-smooth
- Offer expert help through partners
- Start a newsletter
By implementing these steps, you will be able to surf this tidal wave of DIY demand and build a strong online presence.
How Vaimo Can Help
At Vaimo, we're experts in all things ecommerce. Every day we work with brands, retailers, and manufacturers all over the world to create winning customer experiences. We'd love to help you implement a more personalized approach to take your DIY ecommerce to the next level. Get in touch with our team of experts to learn how we can help you optimize your DIY ecommerce experiences and help you stand out from your competitors