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To move or improve is a big question on the mind of many consumers. It is also a question posed to the home improvement market and how retailers can reach their target audience.
With the uncertainty of the housing market pre and post Brexit, more and more people are opting to improve their home instead of move. Whether that be a new kitchen, bathroom, extension, replacement doors/windows or updating the décor and furnishing, it is vital the home improvement market embrace this trend.
The motivation for home improvements or renovations are inherently linked to life events including having a baby and the increase in multi-generational households, with older children struggling to get on the property ladder and the ageing population more and more likely to live in their children’s home. The most common home improvement projects in 2015 include painting (55%), bathrooms (32%), kitchens (23%) and windows & doors (18%), (www.venveo.com).
Research suggests more and more people are choosing open plan kitchens with islands and ‘smart appliances’ that allow for multi-use, from entertaining, to work, homework and even pet considerations, making the kitchen far more than just a food preparation area. Accompany this with recent research from Savills suggesting a new kitchen can add up to 7% to the value of your property the benefits are very clear and similar can be said of most home improvement projects.
Source: JM Blakes Associates
Key purchase influencers when it comes to bathrooms include house style, boiler compatibility, temperature control, price, promotions, while guidance from a plumber/installer represents a reassuring element of the process. Interestingly, wet rooms are the fastest growing sector of the UK bathroom market with people making the most of the space that they have.
Understanding the market
Home improvement consumers are savvy, modern and expect a tailored shopping experience. They generally prioritise unique, high quality and valuable products over cost. It is important to understand their path to purchase and the difference touchpoints that influence decision making.
Obviously different age brackets have different motivation, with 35-54 year olds driven by energy efficiency and those aged 55+ driven by preparations for growing older (www.venveo.com).
Reaching your target audience
Video is becoming an increasingly more powerful tool, allowing you to educate and inspire consumers. 84% of DIYers are looking at inspirational content all year around, not just in preparation for a project, with 42% of consumers planning 0-3 months in advance and 38% planning 3-6 months in advance. 61% are finding instructional tools via search engines, followed by retailer’s websites, YouTube and DIY blogs. (www.venveo.com). Well executed and marketed, this content will generate return visits and often conversions, whatever shape they might take.
It is also important to recognise the changing nature of consumers, with more 20-30 year olds than before opting for ‘do it for me’ over DIY. Again, this creates both opportunities and challenges for the industry. Some of the biggest retailers including B&Q and Homebase have seen large numbers of store closures. This means they need to be incredibly competitive and innovative to retain the attention of their potential customers. It could be argued that this shift to online where better deals can often be found creates a more even playing field for all. This allows retailers to compete from small independents to large chains, and could see larger chain outlets increasingly providing a browsing function to gather ideas and inspiration to take online.
In the scramble to maximise the opportunities highlighted it is more important than ever to first be found online via multiple, cohesive channels and secondly to provide an excellent, cross-device user experience from start to finish. A common mistake in this market is not providing the same after purchase experience for things such as installations and warranty details.
It is also vital to understand that attracting visitors to your website is only half the battle. Home improvement consumers research heavily and will return to those sites that not only stand out in the increasingly crowded market, but those which remind, interact and incentivise visitors.
Do these challenges sound familiar? Do you need help reaching your target audience online? Don’t get left behind, get in touch today.