How is the home and garden industry responding to COVID-19?

In times prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we often put off the tedious household jobs that we simply did not want to do, or we’d find any type of excuse to push it to the next weekend. However, since we’ve all got a lot of spare time on our hands now, what better time to get stuck into home improvement projects, right?

Well, it seems that the UK has decided to become very productive in doing so, especially those lucky enough to be able to stay and work from home to keep those around us safe. The home and DIY industry has boomed during the pandemic, as according to SEO Monitor, in February this year, “DIY projects” as a trend was searched for an astounding 84,100 times! What’s more, between 9th – 15th March this year, online sales of home improvement and gardening retail products grew by 50%, in comparison to 2019 figures.

Consumer – Business behaviour during COVID-19

Prior to the COVID-19 sales climate, research displayed that 40% of consumers would be able to spend more than 30 minutes of their time surfing through website after website, in search for the right product. However, this has now grown to more extreme consumer behaviours:

  • 84% of consumers are now demanding more assistance during their online shopping experience – this is down to long delivery times, therefore people want to ensure they are buying the right product and at the right price.
  • With no clear picture of when we’ll see an end to lockdown, consumers are feeling more anxious than ever and stress levels are high. As a result of this, many retailers are becoming even more reliant on their digital platforms to keep afloat.

How have businesses been impacted?

Many in-demand retailers are seeing shoppers act like it’s Black Friday, with many websites simply breaking due to the amount of traffic on their site, such as B&Q’s website, for example, which was down for several days at one point. Others, like Wickes, formed “virtual queuing systems”, which places shoppers in an online queue, sometimes for up to three hours, to reach the DIY products.

It’s safe to say DIY has never been so popular.

On the other hand, for some, it has created a massive issue in terms of their supply chain, especially for Home Depot. Most of their products are sourced from China, thus it has created consumer uncertainty, and has consequently halted anyone from making high-value purchases. Overall, many brick-and-mortar businesses are seeing a major decline in sales performance as a result of COVID-19.

In what ways have DIY businesses responded to COVID-19?

Contact-free deliveries: Many companies, such as IKEA, are offering complete contact-free delivery and the consumer is more aware of parcel updates and delivery preferences.

COVID-19 FAQ page: Dunelm, amongst others, has created a dedicated COVID-19 FAQ page to answer all consumer questions, such as “Why are Dunelm stores closed?” to “What will happen to my Click & Collect order?”. All of which can help consumers stay informed during this undetermined time during lockdown.

Updated Click & Collect process: B&Q have introduced a new system for their Click & Collect process, in which abides by following the 2 metres apart social distancing and customers are only allowed to come to the store if they have received an email to collect. Items are then left at your car so you are able to load your items up safely.

Homecare blogs: B&Q have created a blog hub dedicated to “Ideas & advice on how to keep your home healthy,” which includes helpful guides on all household DIY projects you could do to keep yourself busy during isolation.

How can you help your customers, using digital

Full transparency to your consumers

Due to the circumstances we’re facing in the UK and the rest of the world, we need to ensure we’re portraying full transparency to our customers. Therefore if you’re expecting delays in deliveries or stores to close, please inform your customers and keep them up to date with the latest tracking information.

Customer service is number one priority

With the new isolation and lockdown rules applied now in the UK and many other countries, human interaction online is what your consumers need right now. With that being said, we need to ensure the buying process is as conversational as possible. Which can be done in numerous ways, from producing helpful buying guides to real human chat agents to support consumers when browsing. By implementing some of these methods, customers are able to shop quickly and easily, therefore benefitting both the brand and your user by converting more, but also increasing customer retention.

We’re currently living through something we didn’t expect in our lifetime, although we must think rationally and adopt a forward-thinking approach in how we can continue to help our economy through this time. 

If you would like to understand how Croud can support you through this time, please contact us – we’d love to help!

by Mae-Lei King
17 April 2020



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