More and more companies are relying on ecommerce as a cornerstone of their business, and home improvement is one of the industries leading the change. In 2017 alone, U.S. online sales of building and home improvement products increased by over 30 percent – nearly breaking $20 billion dollars in total sales. This explosive growth has been seen across every product category, from plumbing and hardware, to flooring and outdoor living.
What is pushing consumers from brick-and-mortar stores into an online experience? Take a look at the factors below!
What helps attract customers to an online shop is the knowledge that there a virtually unending world of products, deals, and possibilities to be discovered. Not only can you buy what you need and want, you can get help decorating your home from a professional, opening the door to new brands and products that otherwise wouldn’t have crossed your radar.
While this is good news for the health of the industry, it does also mean that businesses have to work hard to capture your attention, in part through the ways listed below.
Offering a wide variety of products, especially in the same product category, increases a business’s chance for a sale. Take hardwood flooring for example: even though it’s a subset of a larger flooring category, it’s common to go online and scroll past pages and pages of wood flooring options for the home. Most sites also offer the option or sorting by popularity, finish, price, and other qualifiers. So, whether you’re into mahogany or birch flooring, chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for online.
There’s nothing worse than feeling rushed by a salesperson or jostled by crowds, especially during a major sales event like Black Friday. When shopping online, you’re free to make your own purchasing decisions, uninfluenced by an impartial third party, in the comfort and privacy of your own home. You can also order items as gifts for other people, that are packaged and shipped discreetly.
One extremely valuable innovation in ecommerce has been the emergence of chatbots to supplement busy customer support staff. Created using artificial intelligence and machine learning, chat bots help respond to queries with relevant product and account information to help you shop, address a complaint, and connect you with the appropriate contacts for more specific enquiries.
The costs of running a physical establishment are much higher than an online store. As such, retailers can often offer special deals and pricing for their online customers – something that’s incredibly beneficial when it comes to the expense of a home improvement project. Checking out a site’s clearance section is also a great way to find quality items at a significant markdown. Don’t forget coupons, codes, and, in certain cases, free shipping! It all adds up to savings that aren’t found in a brick-and-mortar store.
When it comes to home improvement, it’s important to shop around, as prices can vary greatly. With the two most expensive (and most common) projects being bathroom and kitchen remodeling, that means that a lot of online shoppers have a strict budget in the forefront of their minds. Shopping online allows you to pull up multiple tabs and shop at several stores at once, doing a side-by-side comparison pricing and shipping options.
What if what you buy isn’t exactly what you had in mind, or plans changed? What do you do with all the material? Luckily, many online shops offer money back guarantees, usually for a term no longer than 30 days – and return options for the unwanted goods. It’s important, however, to read all the fine print before making a purchasing decision in order to determine your eligibility in case you do need to make a return.
If you don’t have a pickup truck or simply just can’t do any heavy lifting, then having items shipped directly to your home would be a distinct advantage. Home improvement companies offer a variety of convenient shipping options, including curbside and store delivery. That way, you can focus on the project ahead of you instead of how your materials are getting to your door.
Much like shopping around for prices, checking out reviews can help sort out quality stores from ones to avoid, helping you have the best shopping experience possible- start to finish. What are people saying about customer service? Shipping speed? Quality of product? All of these things matter when it comes to sourcing materials that will up the value of your home.
Revolving Product Selection
Brands are always innovating and cycling out old products and designs. This is great for homeowners who want to decorate with the season, or take advantage of a new trend. Staying on trend and in season helps keep customers from growing bored with a stale selection that isn’t meeting their needs.
At the end of the day, it’s all about creating an accessible, convenient avenue for homeowners to realize their renovation needs. Keeping that in mind, companies can continue to offer the best experiences possible and you can create the home of your dreams!
– Maddie Davis, Cofounder/Editor of Enlightened Digital.