Before the pandemic, a good customer experience was hard to define. To put it bluntly, customer priorities were all over the place:
- Shoppers were beginning to expect a more personalised service. One survey found that over 70% of customers were put off by shopping experiences that felt impersonal. Another found that 72% would only interact with marketing messages that were tailored to their interests.
- 78% of millennials preferred to spend money on experiences rather than products. This led to a rise in “retailtainment”, with companies holding extravagant in-store events in an effort to attract younger shoppers.
- Ethical consumerism was on the rise with 88% of consumers expecting brands to make a positive difference. A 2019 report found that ethical spending in the UK had quadrupled in the last 20 years.
Meeting customer expectations at the start of 2020 meant offering a personalised service that also doubled as a memorable experience. Brands had to be laser-focused on the individual customer, while simultaneously considering their impact on a global scale.
If this sounds like an impossible task, it’s because it was. Luckily, things were about to become much more straightforward.
The pandemic simplified customer expectations
The pandemic forced customers to take a back to basics approach to shopping. They no longer cared about “making memories”, or building a personal relationship with brands. Their priorities were simple- speed and safety:
- 31% of customers made an active effort to spend less time in stores as a result of the pandemic
- 75% favoured stores with visible safety measures
- A quarter of customers were only willing to wait five minutes before leaving a store.
DIY stores rose to the challenge
The pandemic put DIY stores in an unusual position. Lockdown gave customers an opportunity to embark on home improvement projects, creating a boom in demand for DIY products. At the same time though, customers were reluctant to set foot in stores for fear of catching the virus.
With Amazon increasing its DIY market share every day, this situation could have spelled doom for homeware retailers. Instead, many took the initiative and adapted their business models to suit the new landscape. The best example of this is the rise of Click & Collect:
- B&Q turned its car parks into outdoor Click & Collect points, allowing customers to use the service without setting foot in the store. The response was extremely positive. Online sales grew 200% in May and June 2020.
- Kingfisher Group (the owners of B&Q and Screwfix) saw Click & Collect sales jump by 226%. Almost 80% of its online sales during the pandemic came from Click & Collect.
- Wickes was even more successful, enjoying a 450% increase in Click & Collect sales.
Click & Collect is here to stay
Like many of the changes brought about by COVID-19, the rise of Click & Collect is the continuation of an existing trend. The service was already increasing in popularity before the pandemic, and this looks set to continue. Almost 60% of the UK population is expected to use Click & Collect in 2021, and the DIY sector will account for many of these sales.
This is great news for DIY stores, but only if they embrace the change. This is where we can help. Our products are designed to streamline the Click & Collect process so that you and your customers can reap the benefits:
- Call points can be placed on Click & Collect desks during quieter periods. This allows colleagues to get on with other tasks between customers. When a customer needs assistance, they can simply press the call point to speak to a colleague.
- Colleagues can use their headsets to check the status of Click & Collect orders without visiting the stockroom. This saves a lot of walking, especially in larger DIY stores.
- Telephony integration allows colleagues to answer customer calls from the shop floor. Customers can call ahead to check on the status of Click & Collect orders, saving them an unnecessary journey. They can also call for advice on DIY projects, saving them time when they arrive.
Britain has rediscovered its love for DIY. Our system helps you to capitalise by giving customers a smooth in-store experience. Get in touch to find out more.