Customers are demanding more and more from retailers, and retailers are demanding even more from their brand consultants.
There is an expectation the retail customer will be serviced and marketed to in ways that are personalised and convenient to them. To ensure the DIY retailer keeps on attracting and engaging customers, it's important to keep ahead of the latest behavioural trends and taking inspiration from both in and out of category is also helpful.
As e-commerce becomes a go-to customer retail strategy for many, physical stores have to evolve. This means providing added value and an in-store experience you can't get online. Stores are now being seen as places for people to come together, be inspired or discover something new. A recent survey found this trend particularly relevant for Generation Y, who often lack skills and confidence in the DIY arena and require extra support from the retailer.
Earlier this year the management team at Leroy Merlin, Russia set us a challenge.
“To make a new image for Leroy Merlin retail format according to social changes, an evolution of perception, adding new dimensions of the company to the visual image of the store experience. Two key messages had to be delivered - Everyday Low Price, and Omni-channel store with the seamless purchasing experience.”
To appreciate the changes taking place in the digital retail branding and DIY store design, we outline a number of key issues for Leroy Merlin and retailers when briefing retail design consultants and brand agencies.
Consumers now move between multiple platforms and expect a superior level of customer service at each point along the customer journey. The brands that are winning in this area are the ones that are offering a consistent and seamless shopping experience through digital, in-store and in some cases outdoor design brand communications systems. For inspiration, DIY retailers should look out of category at Argos.com
In Germany, amongst the top three largest DIY retailers, one is an online retailer with no physical store presence. An ever-growing number of consumers of products are content to only purchase Amazon or in the case of DIY only online. But instead of running away from the competition, Leroy Merlin wishes to embrace it, by giving the customer more control and convenience in their on/offline shopping experience. And they are doing this by deploying new technological innovations in other parts of the customer journey, which connect customers to the in-store retail design brand experience.
Historically, the gender bias in the DIY market could be accounted for on a class/cultural/tradesman level, with women traditionally delegating DIY projects to their partners, families or trade professionals.
When it comes to one category DIY trend The Home Depot, in the United States, now claims that their â€˜woman-friendly makeover' is showing positive results in the form of increased sales. The Home Depot had historically targeted the â€˜tradesman' and weekend handyman market but faced with intense competition from their rival Lowes over market share. The Home Depot management team briefed its retail brand constants to improve and enhance their shopping experience to increase female footfall. A trend, Leroy Merlin management executives also wish to address with their retail brand agencies.
As today's younger age-groups gradually steam into the housing market, the DIY industry needs to be ready, not just for fashion decorative trends but for interactive trend communication points.
The Millennial generation shop in a different way to previous generations and their service expectations are much higher. Technology will play a pivotal role as this generation is more likely to search, shop online and use a click and collect or delivery services. Furthermore, they have a limited loyalty span, so long-term loyalty cards are of no interest to them, preferring the immediate gratification of having offers pinged to their mobile device as they enter a store. Social media will continue to affect the decisions GenY make about brands, with product choice being influenced by social platforms such as Youtube and Pinterest.
The images in this article have been taken from our retail store design and brand work with Leroy Merlin executive management.
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