The DIY sector struggled during the Easter break as shoppers opted for a day in the sun rather than a day at the DIY store, with footfall down 1.3% YoY over Friday and Saturday, according to a report by The Guardian.
However, scorching weather isn’t the only reason shoppers are opting not to ‘B&Q it’.
USP Marketing Consulting’s European Home Improvement Monitor report found the most likely consumers to buy at DIY stores are aged between 34-55 years, have a low to medium income and are more experienced with DIY jobs.
“As DIY stores want to attract a younger audience with lower DIY experiences, they clearly still have a long road ahead of them” the company said.
The road is certainly long…
With millennials struggling to get on the home ladder, interest in home improvement has plummeted in recent years. In fact, The Big Issue reports 28 percent of millennials can’t fix a toilet seat, 52 percent of millennials don’t know how to hang wallpaper and 1 in 10 millennial men said there is an “unsafe” DIY fix in their home.
In addition, the proliferation of online shopping has forced DIY stores to restructure, with stores such as B&Q and Homebase investing in click and collect services as the growth in online continues to outpace physical stores. Business Insider forecasted UK DIY e-commerce sales to grow 47.3 percent from 2017-2022 to reach £1.5bn, compared to a 7.3 percent increase in DIY & Gardening sales through offline channels such as bricks-and-mortar.
So how can DIY brands work with their bricks-and-mortar retailers to convince millennials that they really can do it themselves? Or at the very least, use effective trade marketing strategies to capitalise on in-store sales opportunities while they develop a more robust online offering.
1. Turn sales staff into your brand advocates
The more knowledge DIY store sales staff have of your product the more likely they will be able to sell your product, or even recommend it over the competition.
Often, DIY brands have high-ticket items (high-tech power tools, for example) that have a range of premium features.
The problem is, how do you convince shoppers to invest over a cheaper competitor product? The shopper must understand the value.
Having well-trained sales staff who are keen to extol the benefits of your product creates the emotional connection and product awareness needed to purchase.
Having a robust retailer engagement programme that ensures your retailers' sales staff are highly knowledgeable about your product and, better yet, highly motivated to sell it, will give you the edge.
Brands can use a number of engagement methods via online portals and mobile apps, which can include:
- product academies to ensure your retailer’s sales staff are geared to sell.
- gamification (using points systems to complete training and win prizes).
- competitions, badges, certifications, incentives and rewards to motivate sales staff.
- a comms platform to maintain regular contact.
- SMS and push notifications to re-engage inactive staff.
- surveys to optimise incentives.
- a reporting suite to measure campaign effectiveness for continuous improvement.
WrightObara’s bespoke Retailer Engagement Programmes have seen a 400% sales increase by top-performing retail sales staff.
2. Use stores as consumer training environments
Retailers are looking at ways to bring in extra income and increase footfall. Ultimately, they need to give consumers a reason to visit the store rather than simply ordering online.
Linking online data with in-store activities simultaneously drives sales, increases footfall and boosts brand loyalty.
For example, brands may be able to work with retailers to pull data from the CRM such as ‘Everyone within a certain radius of the store who have recently viewed their high-ticket products on the retailer’s online store but did not purchase.’
An email invitation can then be sent to the prospects inviting them to the store for a hands-on, practical demonstration. Actually getting the products into the hands of the customer significantly increases sales.
Trade teams can join forces with their digital marketing teams and run ad campaigns on Facebook targeting new home-owners within a certain radius of the store, inviting them to in-store experiential events.
For the older more hands-on DIY generation, you could teach more advanced applications. For millennials who are more reticent about using power tools, for example, it’s a great opportunity to empower and train them for the future.
This builds brand loyalty. And when it comes to eventually purchasing their first home, your brand will be top of mind.
3. Use effective digital trade marketing
I’m amazed how wet behind the ears many brands are when it comes to digital trade marketing. Just glance across Amazon product listings and you see masses of missed opportunities.
Getting the basics right from the offset will significantly increase sales. These include:
- SEO-optimised and user-friendly titles, bullet points and product descriptions (including long-tail keywords).
- professional imagery (correct size, clean, lightbox images, lifestyle imagery, in use etc.).
- benefits included on imagery such as custom graphics (Remember, most people only view the title, price and images).
- ‘From the manufacturer’ or ‘A+ Content’ such as how-to guides.
- video content so the potential buyer can get more of a feel of the product, how to use it, the size, shape, colour etc.
While DIY store’s websites may not offer as high functionality as Amazon, most of the basic principles also apply. Go back and check your listings on your DIY retailer’s site and work with them to further optimise if necessary.
Brands are somewhat hostage to their retailers as the DIY market changes. Some may argue that bricks-and-mortar retail is a sinking ship.
However, the best thing brands can do is diversify and try to improve engagement across all channels. DIY brands must engage customers through a number of channels and integrate online and offline activities.
Only by doing this, will they ensure they are retaining their current demographic while capturing a millennial audience to future proof their brand.