Home Improvement Retail Industry. Ecommerce Guide for Brands
Not a long time ago the home improvement market was just a brick-n-mortar business. Home improvement store industry giants like Home Depot, Lowe’s, BAUHAUS, and Leroy Merlin, didn’t leave any chances for small and medium retailers to compete. It is a different story now. Home improvement and DIY (do-it-yourself) market began to grow, bringing in more different-size brands and retailers. The average annual home improvement expenditure per homeowner grew to $7,560 in 2018, from approximately $6,650 in 2017. And the future of the home improvement market is as bright as it hasn’t ever been: Technavio analysts expect the market to grow at a CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) of 4.37% by 2024. What is more, taking the current situation with Covid-19 lockdown, people tend to invest in their houses even more. And the home improvement industry gets a new opportunity.
What is the difference between the leaders in building an ecommerce presence and the poor-performing sellers? The answer lies in well-developed product pages with rich product data and the way it is distributed across sales channel partners. Therefore, in this article we would analyze home improvement e-commerce trends and propose marketing ideas for home improvement companies willing to face the competition with the leaders in a niche.
Defining Home Improvement & DIY
Home Improvement and DIY (do-it-yourself) is a market niche of products for performing any type of home refurbishment works, as well as tools, home appliances, materials & carpentry, decoration & lighting, hardware & security, terrace & garden goods and similar.
To get a more vivid vision, we will break down home improvement products examples. We could divide home improvement goods into four categories based on the price level and usage.
- Basic home necessities (light bulbs, lamps, screwdrivers, door/window handles) up to $25
- Simple hardware, tools and accessories (screwdriver sets, different types of filters, fire detectors, shower/kitchen hardware parts ) $25-$50
- Simple power tools and accessories (power drills, fans, kitchen/bathroom faucets, sinks) $50-$100
- Mid-price tools and fixtures (kitchen sinks, lighting fixtures) $100-250
- High-price tools and fixtures (doors, bathtubs, multi-power tool kits, table saws) $250+
In Walmart home improvement catalog, for example, home improvements are presented in these categories: Heating, Cooling, Air Quality, Tools, Pools, Hot Tubs & Supplies, DIY & Home, etc.
Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Home Improvement Retailing Market overview
Last year (2019) ecommerce home improvement industry sales grew 16.6%. The importance of improving online presence for brands, especially in terms of product content, is backed up by this rapid growth.
Home improvement market industry-leading countries:
- The US
Technavio analysts also estimate the market to grow at a CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) of $416 million (+4.37%) by 2024 compared to $334 million in 2019.
Home Improvement Market trends
- DIY buyers=Millennials
Type in “home improvement and DIY” in Google and you’ll get about 19,500,000 search results. This is a clear signal that the ones watching YouTube, which are mainly Millennials and Gen Z, are willing to save money on professional workers, and purchase do-it-yourself goods. There are loads of info from how to change a light bulb to how to do the whole home remodeling process.
- 73% would do home repairs themselves
8 in 10 (80%) say professionals charge too much for home improvements work and materials. But there are plenty of resources to learn how to do refurbishments on your own (and for this reason 73% say they’ll do improvement projects themselves, if needed).
- Rise of interest to portable home goods
Since 2004 the number of house rents increased dramatically, especially in urban areas. Insight: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University found out that 40% of recent additions to the rental stock charge $1,500 or more per month. What tendency does it communicate to us? Portable home improvement products that tenants can be easily moving around flat to flat will be in demand. What are these products? Showerheads, DIY furniture, basically, anything that could be divided into pieces and easily transported.
- Remodeling will be on the rise
As the average household ownership goes as high as 38 years, and people are not hurrying to purchase a costly real estate, they would be constantly investing in remodeling works.
- Home owners regret they cut the spendings on refurbishments
More than ⅓ of people owning a home or an apartment (who has done any type of home improvements since) regret they didn’t invest more into refurbishments (The Regret Factor Study at HIRI, home improvement research institute).
Key home improvement marketing companies
Key retailers in a niche of home improvement store chains
- BAUHAUS E-Business GmbH and Co. KG
- Home Depot Product Authority LLC
- Kesko Corp.
- Kingfisher plc
- Lowe's Companies Inc.
- Toolstation Ltd.
- Travis Perkins Plc
- Walmart Inc.
- Wesfarmers Ltd.
- Leroy Merlin
Let’s break down the most peculiar cases of successful home improvement companies and how do they engage customers on their product detail pages.
A home improvement and gardening retailer operating in Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. Let’s take a short overview and example of Leroy Merlin home improvement catalog.
General home improvement and DIY products section with all main categories:
Let’s proceed with Tooling, for example, and see what kind of menu will be dropped out. Retailer now shows the subcategories and more micro-categories inside of each one. Breaking down and dividing products into specific categories makes a customer search much easier and precise. This also allows the intuitive search and makes customers stay longer with your ecommerce website.
Retailer’s product information on the website looks comprehensive. Numerous product images (this product example gives us 7 images with an ability to zoom in, and a video showing product functions and benefits).
Product description section offers extensive information on a product. General description + 18 points for product specifications and characteristics. As well as price, payment methods options, delivery options and time range.
When you have complicated equipment, it is crucial to make customers feel at ease and guided through the “how-to-use” process. Leroy Merlin retailer pins Instructions for use file and implements FAQ and reviews section on its product detail page. What is important — the company offers DIY courses. This, in turn, also helps to grow engagement between customers and brands.
Other product recommendations:
- In the same category
- Customers also bought
Lowe’s Companies Inc.
Lowe’s, one of the largest home improvement retailers in the worldwide, with $72.1B sales and 18M сustomers served per week in 2019. The retailer provides customers with DIY Projects and Ideas with How-to’s, Buying Guides, Inspiration and Calculator, and outlines the shop in the following categories on its ecommerce website:
Lawn & Garden
Doors & Windows
Lighting & Ceiling Fans
Moulding & Millwork
Heating & Cooling
Smart Home & Security
Home Decor & Furniture
Storage & Organization
Diving into one of the home improvements categories (let’s take Kitchen Countertops and Accessories), Lowe’s comes up with an interesting main product image decision: implementing the core product qualities and pricing into an image itself. This allows customers to quickly compare the items, without a need to dig inside each, and get precisely what they are looking for faster. Plus, Lowe’s customers can use a “Shop by Color” option.
Home Improvement Amazon experience
Since Amazon began to run with B2B ecommerce, Amazon home improvement sales increased five times. It went from $1 billion (2011) to about $6 billion (2018), having around 13 million product SKUs in 15 home improvement categories.
The fastest and most successful start was in the sales of small basic tools, lighting fixtures and DIY products. The reason could be in easy and economical shipments and easily trackable part numbers (besides product MPN, Amazon uses its own product tracking numbers ASIN).
Besides, there’s another reason for Amazon success in home improvement and DIY items sales: Amazon Home Service. The platform offers customers home improvement professionals’ services: from installation to repairings. Where shoppers would have been hesitant to buy online — Amazon proves to find a solution and make customers confident they will not be left behind. Such practice could be used at any online store: to bring more sales and additional revenue.
Ecommerce Guidance for Brands. Home improvement marketing ideas
The difference between the leaders in building an ecommerce presence and the poor-performing sellers? A good home improvement marketing strategy. Starting with the core: well-developed product pages with rich product data and the way it is distributed across sales channel partners.
The quality of product information comes as a must. Usually, customers of home improvement stores expect to be guided by professional consultants, as the niche is quite complicated. Brands and retailers step on a mission to craft product detail pages in a way customers do not feel a lack of information and understanding.
How does a professional product detail page for home improvement & DIY goods look like?
To sell more and rank higher in search engines — the number of product images and reviews on the product pages matter. Use as much product description details and images as needed to leave customers feeling confident about every aspect of the product.
Marketing tips for home improvement and DIY product pages:
- Include in-use product images.
- Depict product benefits.
- Consider using in-image text to call out benefits.
- Encourage reviews from customers (especially for new or complex items).
- Put out technical specifications in the product description.
- Tell a story with the product images and product description.
- In-use or installed product images.
- Close-ups, 3D images on tools to show the quality, material and other details.
- Include unique materials or other specs in the product title if relevant.
- Capture a video to show the product in-use.
- Implement customer reviews and FAQ sections.
- Apply Usage Guidelines for more complicated home improvement products.
- Offer similar or recommended products.]
- Include explicit information on delivery and payment options.
Other working home improvement digital marketing tips
1) Becoming an influencer in a niche
Create regular valuable content with expert advice on topics in home improvement and DIY. Be present on social networks and media channels your audience resides. Write about home improvement trends, home improvement news, money-saving design tips etc.
2) DO-IT-Yourself tutorials
People are more willing to do refurbishment work on their own, and every big home improvement retailer tries to regularly push that type of content. Do not hesitate to give free information and advice to your customers. This would help to build authority and each time your shoppers would have any q-s or struggles - they’ll come for trusted advice again. And this is another sales opportunity. Plus, you can mention your products while creating DIY guides.
3) Case studies
Case studies are a valuable home improvement marketing technique. They allow you to demonstrate expertise and get a clear picture of the services or products you’re selling, as well as prove the quality and skills.
4) Home crafts tips & ideas
Hacks and tips usually got viral on social media and by the word-of-mouth as well. People like using old stuff to make something useful, beautiful and free for their homes and gardens.
5) User-generated content
‘Social proof’ is one of the most persuading home improvement sales techniques. It builds trust from the like-minded buyers and goes viral fast. Plus, you can ask for your customers' feedback and implement it into your ecommerce website.
Pay attention to product descriptions and generally, product detail pages, search engine optimization. Using the explicit language describing all aspects of a product customers might be looking for is a great way to get visibility.
Summary. How do we help with marketing product content
Home improvement market continues to grow online presence. Home Improvement customers are definitely going to continue putting money into purchasing home improvements and DIY items. About $450 billion were put into Improving homes between 2015 and 2017 in the US only (U.S. Census Bureau data from the American Housing Survey).
How can HI and DIY brands, retailers, and distributors grow their ecommerce business? Investing in the core: product detail pages, that would help attract new customers. Though the solution comes along with a challenge. Each brand manages its product data differently from the retailer (uses different data formats and stores product information on different systems).
Brands failing to provide full product information retailers require on time (as well as not conforming to the data format) results in retailers filling in missing information themselves without a substantial knowledge on product details, which could easily disorient a buyer and result in product return. So how the issue can be tackled? How can you quickly move and later regularly upgrade product content on multiple ecommerce websites of every retailer and wholesaler you work with? For this reason, the major players of the home improvement store industry are using third party home improvement tools / home improvement sales software, like product content distribution. How can we help? Easily upgrade your marketing strategy with the top-quality product data delivered automatically to resellers you work with. In any format and any amount. Just set up once and let it run.