So, what does this mean for DIY retailers looking to tap this highly lucrative and discerning audience? How can you ensure you’re in front of mind when these 24 - 39-year-old group of shoppers decide that a new kitchen or bathroom is in order, and begin their search?
Let's take a deep dive and look at why millennials are important to DIY retailers, how they shop for big-ticket items, what they value and above all, how you can guide these buyers to your online or brick-and-mortar store.
Millennials are primed for homeownership with more first-time buyers joining the property ladder than ever before. Add to this the fall in unemployment and accelerating rate of economic growth across the UK, USA and Europe, the housing market is showing continued demand and great promise.
Post-rental, and now looking to put their mark on their new home, this Instagram-Snapchat-everything-must-be-captured-in-a-photo generation is now shopping around for their first kitchen and bathroom. Desperately looking for inspiration and fresh ideas, all they want is a little help for someone to guide them on their journey - which should be music to the ears of DIY retailers.
"We can’t compete with Amazon", "How are we supposed to beat Prime day", "They want to talk to Alexa - not me" ... Yes, yes, I’ve heard all of these comments. But have you ever stopped to think about what Amazon fails to offer? And by this, I don’t mean the physical products.
Okay, fine. I’ll accept that it is the default millennial shopping destination for life’s great necessities, such as; Vegetable Spiralizers, Pet Grooming Gloves and Stainless Steel Straws, but when it comes to inspirational kitchen and bathroom spaces, Amazon is “currently out-of-stock”.
Almost 1 in 10 millennials say the reason they would choose not to shop with Amazon is that they don’t always know what they’re looking for and it’s hard to find inspiration on Amazon - as you can see, it’s not all doom and gloom.
Having set a benchmark to what a great all-encompassing marketplace eCommerce website should look like, DIY retailers have focused on delivering a similar user-experience as Amazon, to ensure consumers shop with them and no one else.
Every DIY retailer website now offers recommended products, reviews, promotions and a great search tool - functionality that converts. However, what is there to differentiate you from Amazon? And at what point do these features just become the norm?
Having recognized their inability to sell inspiration to millennials, kitchen and bathroom retailers should focus on how they can offer a sanctuary of inspiration, and the perfect customer journey to keep the buyer engaged - we think the answer to this is supporting consumers with Guided Design.
According to the Walker Sands 2019 Future of Retail report, nearly one in five consumers (19%) say 3D product visualization features would make them more likely to convert on big-ticket purchases.
Giving millennials, who are naturally tech first and always up for new online experiences, the ability to view their kitchen and bathroom space in 2D, 3D, 360 degrees, and even in virtual reality (VR), you’re enabling them to see their living space from every angle - which means they see exactly what they are buying and feel more secure about completing their purchase.
B&Q in the UK, for example, offers Plan My Bathroom, an intuitive bathroom planner to visualize and plan bathroom projects from start to finish. It’s an easy to use tool that focuses less on the technology, but more on the experience of designing a dream bathroom - check it out for yourself: https://planmybathroom.diy.com/home
We’re well aware of the shift from Do-It-Yourself (DIY) to Do-It-For-Me (DIFM), a trend that has come about due to a less experienced and consequently DIFM championing younger generation, as well as an aging population who are less physically capable than they used to be.
Although this general notion is accepted as a matter of course, it’s important to note that DIFM should not only suggest a requirement for professionals and installation providers in the building trade. This methodology also applies to the design process of living spaces.
1. Room planning - It’s not easy if you’ve never done it before and starting with a blank room can be daunting. Measuring a room might be straightforward, but it’s what you do with those measurements that stump most people.
2. Pick a design and layout - These "new DIY shoppers" start their journey on Pinterest and Instagram, not on your website. They look for inspiration first and then go on a journey of discovery. The problem is where do they go next? Do you offer them a way to visualize a place of their own - or is it straight to the catalog?
3. Selecting the right products - Shoppers are expected to have prior product knowledge when selecting a kitchen or bathroom from the catalog - Just because there are three types of kitchen corner cabinets doesn’t mean the customer knows which one they should pick.
4. Don’t have the design experience - Just like no one ever has a clue what a British Standard BS3621 lock is when filling out their home insurance quote, customers who are shopping for a kitchen have little or no understanding of the legal minimum required distance between a kitchen wall unit and a gas hob, and nor should they.
5. I’ve never installed a bathroom or kitchen - have you? Since most members of the general public probably do not have any perception of how to install a bathroom or kitchen, it’s difficult to understand what goes where. Understanding where to place a bathroom sink or a kitchen hob ensures the perfect ergonomic design of your customers living space - No one ever wants to open a shower door and have it smash against the toilet
We’ve established that consumers wanting to design their dream kitchen and bathroom are far more likely to convert if they can visualize the room in 3D. However, most space planning software on the market has been built with designers and developers in mind - not the end-user.
This means customers who have access to design software find it difficult to navigate the complex space planner, missing out key kitchen and bathroom ergonomic rules and ending up far more confused than they started - I’m sure you’ll agree, this is not what you want to achieve.
And it’s why our AI-powered Guided Design platform has been built with customer centricity as its core ingredient.