The DIY home improvement industry is witnessing unprecedented growth. Research indicates that between 2019-2023, the global retailing market size is forecast to grow by about USD 119 billion. And in line with this overall growth, home improvement eCommerce sales are beginning to take up a larger part of the overall sales pie—US DIY and home furnishings online sales grew 16% in 2018.
Home Improvement Trends
There are various factors which may have prompted this increase. Firstly, over the last 2 decades, there’s been a surge in content which is encouraging individuals to take on home improvement projects. From ‘how-to’ YouTube videos (anything from replacing a leaky tap to remodelling your kitchen) to inspirational Pinterest boards, consumers have more knowledge and ideas than ever—all at the touch of a button. This has also led to an increase in younger people taking on DIY projects, where they may have previously hired a professional. A study from the National Association of REALTORS found that 75% of Gen Y and slightly more than half of Generation X had chosen to DIY their project.
But the underlying driving factor in this growth has been rapid technological advancement in eCommerce:
Automated customer service, rich product information, video tutorials, hassle-free re-ordering, click and collect, same-day delivery, interactive Q & A and return in-store. These are just some of the features that have catapulted home improvement eCommerce sales by making it easier to transact online.
But it hasn’t always been this way.
Home Improvement & Hardware Online Sales
Due to its nature, DIY home improvement eCommerce has typically lagged behind, say, groceries or clothing. And it’s understandable why. Firstly, hardware products can be large and heavy—which poses serious problems around efficient delivery. And secondly, for the casual consumer, home improvement products can be highly technical and confusing. Vaimo client Bauhaus, for example, has nearly 1000 varieties of screws listed on their site. Impulse buys don’t really take place in home improvement, therefore—these are purchases that need research and planning (plus the advice and knowledge of a member of staff).
This complex buying process illustrates why brick and mortar has always been so dominant in this industry. With inadequate eCommerce offerings in the past, it makes sense that consumers would want to visit a physical store and see a product in person before making a purchase.
But the tide is beginning to turn and has already turned for a number of Vaimo clients.
We’ve seen that those businesses willing to take a pro-active approach to eCommerce and integrate a seamless online/offline presence are those who have succeeded. And with the rise in overall eCommerce, plus the growing influence of Amazon, it’s become clear that DIY home improvement businesses must incorporate eCommerce to remain competitive in today’s market.
Let’s take a closer look at how some of our home improvement, tools and DIY online stores are leveraging eCommerce to improve the customer experience and increase revenue and sales.
Since first partnering with Vaimo, this home improvement store has transformed its omnichannel presence in order to keep up with modern-day customer demands. A number of key features have formed the core of this strategy, most notably the BAUHAUS Installation Service, Click and Collect and Assemble Complex Products Online which provide a stronger full-service offering for the needs of its consumers.
And finally, BAUHAUS brings their customer experience full circle with their pioneering in-house last-mile delivery. This features BAUHAUS’ own logistics solution along with the help of a native app developed by Vaimo. Last-mile removes all friction from the home delivery experience as customers are able to track and review their order in real-time. This has led not only to increased customer satisfaction but also to increased employee engagement.
Through its omnichannel approach to eCommerce, BAUHAUS witnessed a 290% increase in revenue between 2015-2017 and saw B2C revenue rise 70% on average from 2012-2017.
Lecot’s first eCommerce site was built in-house and provided only very basic ordering functionality. In order to remain competitive in a rapidly-changing commerce atmosphere, Lecot knew that it needed to embark on a programme of digital transformation to remain competitive.
Partnering with Vaimo and building on Magento Commerce, the construction powerhouse has managed to transform its online presence. Key to enhancing the visibility of its 2 million SKUs is a PIM system which feeds rich product information to the store's Magento site. And elsewhere, other features including custom user structures, shipping calendar, search integration and quick order lists offer customers and companies a revolutionary new model for sales account management and purchasing.
Lecot’s site has a strong B2C influence, which includes strong search and filtering plus elements of personalisation to provide a tailored experience fit for the demanding customer of today.
As a result, the construction company has seen online sales rise 75% thanks to the user-friendly eCommerce store.
Vaimo client, Fixfast, designs, manufactures and supplies specialist building fasteners and components for the walls and roofs of industrial, commercial and larger residential buildings. It goes without saying that Fixfast’s products are highly specialist and incredibly technical—in terms of their specifications. But again, with Vaimo as its eCommerce partner, Fixfast has been able to transform its operations through eCommerce—demonstrating that whether in home improvement, construction, tools or DIY, businesses can and should be turning towards an eCommerce solution.
For Fixfast, Vaimo delivered a user-driven and visually appealing solution. This build included various functionalities to deal with the complexities of the project through third-party extensions and Vaimo’s content module. Customers can now choose a custom colour code against a certain product with the lead time changing depending on the colour selected. The new site has improved product management with the ability to manage large quantities of products and make changes quickly.