Even with the pandemic drawing to (what we hope is) a close, there is still a strong case for DIY stores to focus on eCommerce. Yes - brick-and-mortar stores are opening up. But the segment is unlikely to revisit its glory days. By contrast, online retail is set to thrive, thanks to shifts in the way people shop.
According to Euromonitor International, global online DIY sales rose considerably worldwide during the height of the pandemic. 2020 saw an 8.1 per cent increase in DIY sales in Australia, a 4.1 per cent increase in the Netherlands, and a 1.8 per cent increase in South Korea. The world’s largest market, the US, also saw a 1 per cent increase in sales.
At the same time, traditional brick-and-mortar home improvement retail sales plummeted by more than 6.9 per cent in Brazil, 10.2 per cent in South Africa, and 28.6 per cent in India. And that’s during a time when the average person was spending more on home improvements than usual.
Thus, for many traditional DIY stores, this is a confusing time. However, there is a silver lining.
In this post, we explore some of the reasons why 2021 is a growth opportunity for the DIY sector and how to adapt to the new reality.
The Shift To eCommerce Is Permanent
If you look at secular retail trends over the last decade, you’ll notice something. The sector as a whole has grown, but brick-and-mortar retail is in terminal decline. Fewer people want to physically visit stores, and more are simply buying goods they need online.
Data, for instance, suggests that e-commerce grew from 5.1 per cent of all retail sales in 2007 to more than 13 per cent in 2017 before the pandemic. The most recent figures show that eCommerce sales reached 18 per cent of all sales in 2020 - the highest on record.
Many experts believe the shift to online sales will continue long after the pandemic subsides. Deloitte, for instance, lists several reasons why it thinks that the current setup is here to stay.
- It’s more convenient
- It negates ongoing concern about social distancing and further waves of infection
- 2020 saw improvement in logistics and distribution capacities, further adding to the convenience
- More elderly people are now willing to shop online
These changes mean that DIY stores need to fundamentally rethink their strategies. Going digital isn’t just a stop-gap emergency measure - it’s the future.
Where Should You Focus To Make Your Business More Digital?
When it comes to making your business more digital, there are two main channels you can use: SEO and PPC. Here we discuss the benefits of using both.
SEO is one of the most powerful tools DIY stores can use to improve their online presence. It does everything, from lowering paid search costs to improving the customer experience.
It Creates Lasting Value
Unlike paid campaigns, SEO continues providing value over the long term. Once you create a piece of content, it’s out there and available for everyone to enjoy. You don’t have to pay for its continued upkeep or to get it in front of people - it’s just there. So, unlike advertising, it doesn’t stop working for you just because a particular ad campaign is at an end.
It Improves The User Experience
Customers want to buy products from DIY stores that improve their quality of life. Finding them, though, can be difficult.
Firms in the sector, therefore, have an unprecedented opportunity to use content to deliver value to their customers. Blogs, for instance, could cover topics such as how to renovate a bathroom, paint a shed or reupholster a chair. Users reading these articles could then follow the instructions and get forwarded to the relevant products.
It Lowers Paid Search Costs
In 2019, businesses spent a whopping $135.9 billion on search advertising worldwide, up from just $26.7 billion a decade earlier. And while they wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t worthwhile, it does reveal the sheer volume of marketing funds going into PPC.
SEO is unique because it helps DIY stores lower their paid search costs over time by diverting more traffic via search engines. Furthermore, SEO improves your site’s Quality Score by improving relevance, reducing the cost per click.
It Lets You Capture Long Tail Keywords
Lastly, SEO helps DIY stores by helping them target long-tail keywords.
Remember, the particular phrases your audience types into search engines can be quite obscure. But with effective keyword analysis, you can sidestep this issue by targeting the right keywords and generating additional traffic.
What about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising? What benefits does that bring DIY stores?
It Increases Brand Awareness
DIY stores need to start thinking strategically about migrating their brands away from brick-and-mortar to online. PPC is ideal for this because it allows you to build brand awareness piece by piece. You start by targeting ads that introduce what you’re doing. And then you use data you collect to improve customer-specific message targeting.
So, for instance, if you know a customer is thinking about renovating their bathroom, you could serve them ads that address this topic. This way, you are more likely to forward them to the relevant landing page.
It Delivers Quick Results
SEO can take a long time to take effect - usually six months to a year. And while it delivers massive value, you can’t always wait that long for results. For instance, in 2020, many DIY stores saw their doors close without notice, necessitating immediate online outreach,
PPC’s benefit is that it gives you quick results. So long as you outbid your competitors for space in search engine results pages (SERPs), you can increase your visibility. You can also use analytics to see which of your ads performed the best to improve their performance next time.
It Lets You Target A Specific Audience
DIY stores usually have a specific demographic they want to appeal to. For instance, your primary customer might be men between the ages of 30 and 50 with high incomes who previously used the word “renovate” in their Google searches.
PPC gives you the freedom to target the people most likely to buy from you. You can target your ads to the group described above - or any other you think might be relevant.