par Aude Chardenon2 June 20210 commentaires

Covid-19 : The acceleration of the DIY sector

Although this sector has been slow to enter the digital world, the Covid pandemic has pushed DIY players to accelerate their omnichannel strategies. This is a quick overview of some service-based innovations set up by retailers, showing their grand entries into the era of adaptive retail.

In retail, DIY is one of the sectors that has been most successful during the health crisis. While in lockdown, many consumers turned to home improvement, for small renovation and furnishing jobs, storage, or simply to make small changes to their decoration. 

According to an Opinionway survey for Alkemics carried out last February, the French, for example, are doing more DIY than they used to; almost half are regular DIY-ers and 27% do more than they did before the lockdowns.

In both specialist and generalist stores, you can quickly see that this craze for a “safe haven” is taking over. Although the pure players are naturally equipped to deal with an increase in online sales, they have to adjust their delivery capacities. Brick and mortar sellers will have to show great agility in order to respond to this increase in demand in a particularly difficult context, as some points of sale cannot accept customers or have had their opening hours changed.  

These DIY stores are accelerating their digital transformation in record time. In France, Castorama is racing to put together a project to adapt its network of collection points for online orders, a project which was already on its roadmap. Their click and collect drive-through service was set up during the first lockdown and in less than a year it was deployed across the entire network of around a hundred stores! 

In Poland, the company has also set up pick-up lockers. In just a few days, the three brands from the Mousquetaires group (Bricomarché, Bricorama and Brico Cash), adapted their car parks so their customers could come and collect their orders. Others, like Wurth, are introducing an online reservation service, which eradicates one of the major problems in the sector: Product unavailability.

Another major example in the sector is the Swedish giant Ikea, which is deploying an online planning service for kitchens and storage spaces, as well as online decoration coaching! To maintain and even deepen links with its customers, the American retailer Home Depot has been streaming live workshops. Participants receive discount coupons. 

Another strategy is to adapt the offer itself; in May 2020, Leroy Merlin (Adeo) launched its own marketplace, with a comprehensive offer that can rival even the web specialists! 

Recently, the German retailer Hornbach announced that it is setting up Captana smart cameras in its stores in order to monitor stock shortages in real time. This solution, powered by artificial intelligence including computer vision, manages inventory and the availability of small items. As you can imagine, services with 3D and/or augmented reality features should continue to grow! 

Finally, a major challenge is awaiting the specialists in the sector; as with food products, consumers are becoming increasingly interested in the origin and composition of certain products. In France, where 88% of consumers ask for information before buying, new criteria are emerging such as repairability, environmental impact or the origin of products*.

As we suspected, these new concerns will continue over the long-term for all product categories. According to Accenture**, 35% of consumers say they have changed their food shopping habits. And 95% of consumers who have made at least one change to their lifestyle expect this change to be permanent.

To learn more, watch the replay of our conference co-hosted with Accenture : What do retailers need to be adaptive and sustainable?

*Industry Opinionway survey for Alkemics “DIY Purchases in France”, conducted from 6th to 11th January 2021.
**SAP/Accenture 2020 study The (real) priorities of consumers post-lockdown