We are all aware that the home and garden industry has experienced a volatile year. This is also why it is important to better appreciate where we may be headed in the not-so-distant future. What do the professionals have to say and are there any specific observations which can be used to ensure success? Although no one possesses the virtual “crystal ball”, there are several observations which need to be discussed in greater detail. Let’s take a closer look.
The Undeniable Presence of Social Media
It is a well-known fact that social media portals such as Facebook and Twitter are accessed by millions of users on a daily basis. However, there are other sites including Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz which particularly cater to the home and gardening lifestyle. You should therefore make it a point to leverage these invaluable resources so that you can more effectively engage with their online audiences. Social media networking is also an excellent way to establish a brand identity.
The Growing Presence of Online Influencers
This point is directly related to the social media marketing recommendations outlined above. Sometimes referred to as “online ambassadors”, influencers are considered to be experts in a specific field. Home and gardening businesses should therefore reach out to popular industry personalities, as they can provide an authoritative edge to a specific product or service (for a relatively small fee). However, this initial investment is well worth the effort when we consider that consumers will often follow the recommendations provided by social media influencers.
Appreciating Market Trends
Recent studies have indicated that many homeowners are wary about becoming involved with a volatile real estate marketplace. Therefore, a greater focus is being placed upon improvements and renovations. This makes perfect sense when we consider that the return-on-investment (ROI) of such projects can be higher than 12 per cent.
So, a greater emphasis should be placed upon home improvement services and suggestions. If you are able to cater to the DIY enthusiast, the chances are high that sales will increase.
The Current Impact of COVID-19
The current state of global affairs has had an impact upon virtual every industry. While sectors such as travel and tourism have suffered, the same cannot be said for the home and garden marketplace. During the latter half of 2020, it was found that online sales of home and garden products had increased. This is due in large part to the simple fact that lockdowns and similar restrictions were in place.
Although it is good news that the world seems to be emerging from such economic doldrums, the future is still uncertain. It is fully reasonable to expect that online purchases will continue into the foreseeable future. Suppliers which are able to capitalize upon these opportunities are predicted to perform quite well. So, be sure to increase your presence within the e-commerce sector.
A Changing Demographic
A recent study found that more millennials are purchasing more homes than ever before. In fact, statistics have shown that 82 percent of millennials are first-time home buyers. This is the largest proportion of any age group. So, it only stands to reason that their preferences need to be addressed. There are several unique observations to take into account.
Firstly, high property prices are causing these consumers to look for smaller homes as opposed to large structures which would otherwise require a significant investment. Another trend involves purchasing properties that will need renovations. This arises from the fact that millennials consider quality of life and comfort to be more important than the price or size of the property in question. Focusing upon the renovation sector could therefore be a great idea.
A Greater Focus Upon Personalization
We all enjoy more personalized experiences when purchasing products and services. This very same observation is just as logical within the home and garden industry. Simply stated, personalized sales and marketing campaigns are the wave of the future. The good news is that there are plenty of ways in which businesses can make powerful changes. These include:
- Hiring talented sales professionals.
- Creating content based around the reader in question.
- Offering targeted discounts and rewards.
- Appreciating customer feedback.
- Ensuring the privacy of customer data at all times.
- We need to remember that many of the products associated with the home and garden industry represent significant investments. Customers will quickly look elsewhere if they feel that a business is not capable of addressing their unique needs. So, a bit of personalization can go a long way.
Seasonality and Location
One of the challenges associated with the e-commerce industry (in general) is addressing the right clients at the right times. This can be even more daunting for the home and garden sector, as the products themselves will often be determined by seasons and locations. In other words, you would not want to market a snow shovel to someone living in Florida nor would it be wise to offer in-ground pools to those located in Nome, Alaska.
We can now see why segmenting your customer base is extremely important. Shoppers will appreciate the effort and furthermore, you can expect to enjoy higher conversion rates. Let us also remember that more individuals are choosing to purchase products online. So, analytics are playing more of an important role than ever before.
Putting it All Together: A Changing Landscape
We can now see that the home and garden industry faces a number of unique challenges. However, there are also plenty of opportunities if you are able to focus your efforts in the right direction. This is why it is wise to take into account all of the observations outlined above.
Would you like to learn more about where the home and garden industry is headed? Are you curious to discover the products and services found throughout our online garden centre? If so, please feel free to contact one of our representatives directly. We will be happy to provide further assistance.
Leslie Vincent is one of our experts at Atkins. Atkins is one of Ireland’s biggest garden centres advising gardening enthusiasts and professional landscapers on all their gardening needs.