Now that DIY stores have reopened their doors, they must focus on building consumer trust; almost one-third of shoppers (31.6%) say they would not consider visiting a DIY store that has reopened. The most cited reason among respondents is that they do not consider DIY to be an essential purchase (34.0%), followed by concerns about other shoppers not adhering to social distancing rules (32.0%). It is important, therefore, that retailers not only introduce social distancing measures, but effectively enforce and communicate these changes to customers.
Long queues are also deterring some shoppers from visiting (26.1%), with B&Q and Homebase receiving negative press coverage as stores began to open at the end of April. DIY retailers must think carefully about how best to manage this, and should consider implementing measures such as virtual queuing systems – a technology that ASDA is already trialling. This allows shoppers to join a virtual queue on their phones, and stay in the car until it is their turn to enter the store. Introducing and encouraging shoppers to use alternative fulfilment options such as contactless click & collect, where staff bring items out to shoppers’ cars, would also help alleviate queues.
The research suggests that many consumers will opt to shop online for the foreseeable future – 42.7% of respondents said they will continue to buy DIY products online despite stores reopening. Retailers with strong online propositions, such as Screwfix, and non-specialists, such as Amazon, will benefit, with many of the shoppers who have purchased DIY during lockdown citing contact-free and quick delivery as drivers of retailer choice (23.3% and 32.9% respectively).