How DIY and home store retailers are embracing omnichannel shopping

Article by Aaron Copestake | 14th April 2021

With holidays off the table and limited options for entertainment, many of us have poured our extra time and money into DIY projects. Home improvement has exploded over the last year:

  • 42% of Brits say they are more motivated to perform DIY tasks as a result of the lockdown.
  • 35% say they are willing to undertake more ambitious home improvement projects. 

The average UK resident spent 39 minutes a day on DIY during the pandemic, so home improvement supplies were in high demand. While most retailers have struggled, the homeware sector remained strong. DIY sales increased every month between May and September 2020, causing total UK retail sales to rise above their pre-Covid levels. This boom in homeware sales played a huge part in saving UK retail from collapse during the pandemic.

Of course, homeware stores have had a big advantage. Unlike many others, they have been allowed to stay open for most of the last 12 months. But this is only part of the story. Rather than just staying open and hoping for the best, DIY retailers have taken a proactive approach to the challenges of the pandemic. Many have fundamentally altered the way in which they do business in order to keep their customers safe and comfortable. A large part of their success comes down to one change in particular: embracing omnichannel shopping. 

The future is omnichannel

Omnichannel shopping is a broad term. Put simply, it means accessing a company’s services through multiple channels. This often means mixing and matching online and in-store shopping. Examples of this include returning online purchases to a store and purchasing goods online to collect in store. 

Even before the pandemic, omnichannel shopping was on the rise:

  • A 2016 survey found that the average customer used six touch points on the way to a purchase, compared to just two in 2001. 
  • 80% of customers used social media for customer service queries.
  • 54% said that social media was their preferred method of communicating with a business. 

COVID-19 only served to accelerate this trend. Customers were anxious about spending too long in stores, and this made Click & Collect the natural choice for many.  Almost a third of online sales in 2020 involved a Click & Collect service of some kind, and the UK Click & Collect market is set to be worth £9.6 billion by 2022

DIY and homeware stores were early adopters of this. Realising that customers were unwilling to set foot in stores, B&Q set up outdoor collection points in its car parks.  This had an immediate effect with the company reporting a 164% rise in online sales in the first half of 2020. The results were even more impressive at Wickes. The company saw Click & Collect orders increase by 450%, leading to a 5% growth in revenue for the year. 

VoCoVo makes Click & Collect a breeze

Whether or not you sell DIY products, Click & Collect is here to stay. 56% of customers plan to use BOPIS (Buy Online, Pay in Store) services after the pandemic is over, and nearly 80% will favour stores that offer contactless pickups. 

Offering Click & Collect isn’t enough though. You also have to make sure that it runs efficiently. Customers have grown used to the speed and convenience of online shopping and they will expect your in-store service to match up. This is where we can help:

  • Call Points allow you to unman Click & Collect desks during quieter periods.
  • Customers can use Call Points to check on the status of their Click & Collect order without queuing. 
  • Colleagues can contact the stockroom via their headsets to check if an order has arrived. They can relay this information to the customer immediately, either in person or via the Call Point. 

Homeware retailers have shown us the power of omnichannel shopping. With VoCoVo in your corner, you can embrace the future of retail.


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