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Within the US$278 billion global market for consumer home improvement products, industry players in developed markets are seeking to boost sales by cultivating interest in DIY. By encouraging consumers to upgrade, fix and remodel themselves, manufacturers and retailers are hoping to shift spending on services and contractors towards home improvement products often sold at retail prices with higher margins. Euromonitor International examines five strategies manufacturers and retailers are using to encourage DIY and boost market value sales.
Major retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot in the US, BriCor in Spain, B&Q in the UK and Bunnings in Australia have long offered free in-store workshops for DIYers, both novice and seasoned. Increasing the diversity and availability of these courses to reach a wider audience of varying skill levels and topic areas can allow industry retailers to affirm their DIY expertise and provide tailored courses for the DIY-shy.
Developing an online library of how-to videos allows manufacturers and retailers to extend their DIY knowledge to customers with limited interest in or access to in-store workshops. Major manufacturers like Stanley Black & Decker Inc, Robert Bosch GmbH and Makita Corporation offer instructional videos on their websites covering a range of topics from product advice and tips to full-length workshops. Retailers like Leroy Merlin in France and Spain offer online forums, video courses and written instructions to guide consumers through a host of home improvement projects. In addition to supporting existing customers, such DIY guidance doubles as a marketing tool, providing product information to potential customers and demonstrating the types of projects for which they can be used.
Industry players are increasingly offering ‘inspiration’ content on or alongside existing websites to diffuse remodelling ideas and link to how-to information. Home paint players like Akzo Nobel NV, The Sherwin-Williams Co, Tikkurila Oyj and Valspar Corp all provide online advice covering colour choices, painting techniques and interior design, oftentimes paired with how-to guides, tips and product recommendations. Many companies are also leveraging the growing popularity of Pinterest, a social networking site that allows users to track and post photos of products and remodelling ideas, disseminate information and design inspiration based on their own branded products.
Print and television advertising campaigns are also being used to disseminate positive messages about DIY and home improvement. In the UK, several retailers including Home Retail Group’s Homebase have launched national television advertisements featuring couples and families undertaking home improvement projects as recreational and social pursuits. Targeting emotions like pride and fulfilment, the advertisements encourage householders to upgrade and remodel their homes themselves.
Over the Easter public holiday weekend in the UK, B&Q launched a telephone helpline allowing anyone with a DIY or home improvement question to obtain live assistance from a member of the retailer’s ‘You Can Do It Crew’. The weekend helpline was a first for the retailer, allowing B&Q to extend its customer support outside normal store hours, and the company says it is likely to re-instate the helpline over future public holiday periods when the rate of DIY projects can reach an annual peak.
While most of these DIY promotional strategies are being applied in developed markets like North America and Western Europe where the DIY culture is more established, industry players in other markets like Eastern Europe should also consider their potential. Leveraging marketing strategies and online content to generate interest in DIY could support industry growth in markets like Russia, Poland and Romania where home improvement value sales are limited by the dominant consumer preference for ‘do-it-for-me’.