Welcome to 2021. By now, we’ve learned to live with the economic and social impact of the pandemic. Although it’s much too soon to forget the life-altering events that captured our attention and generated headlines last year—there is hope. The beginning of a new year signals a fresh start. It’s a chance for us to hit the refresh button and discover new opportunities to benefit our lives.
Now is the best time for anyone who operates a business to review past activities and set clear objectives for the future. Home improvement owners have reasons to be optimistic about the future. By most accounts, business was booming in 2020.
However, sales are projected to slow down since homeowners used the lock-down to complete a record number of projects last year. To maximize sales, develop a marketing plan for 2021 that is flexible and will accommodate significant changes in the marketplace, consumer buying habits, and technology. The plan should also incorporate social media to build relationships with your customers and create more personalized connections.
Cater to Existing Customers
One of the essential things a hardware store owner can do is identify and segments the customers who shop their business. It will help them to understand the types of products customers purchase and the services they require. Typically, home improvement stores cater to 3 types of customers–contractors, DIY enthusiasts, and casual buyers. Depending on location and product assortment, the business may attract a higher percentage of one type of customer vs. another.
DIY enthusiasts like to be hands-on and may opt to feel or demo tools before purchase. Showing casual customers how to use hardware products can help close the deal and lead to add-on sales. Whereas contractors already know how to use hardware. Offering discounts on orders, special interest rates, or delivery will be more appealing to pro customers.
Offer Exceptional Service
When you treat people well by delighting them with over-the-top service, they’re happy to share their experiences in person or online with others. According to the American Express Customer Service Barometer, Americans tell an average of 11 people when they have a good experience. Shoppers are also willing to spend more. It’s especially true of millennials who willingly spend twenty-one percent more for excellent service.
Think of the people who already do business with you as your brand ambassadors. Many of them are more than willing to talk about the service they received online. However, it wouldn’t hurt to ask them to post an online review to share their experience. These reviews are valuable for attracting new customers.
- 86 percent of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience
- 89 percent of customers began doing business with a competitor following a bad experience
Have a Professional Website
E-commerce for the home improvement market is outgrowing physical stores by a 6 to 1 ratio. A professional website is a necessity for any business that plans to remain relevant and have longevity. When consumers decide where they plan to spend money, they start by researching online. Potential customers perceive companies with websites as being credible. The website should be fast, mobile-friendly, and offer relevant content.
- Among the top 3 sources of new customers
- 80 percent of people research online before making a purchase
- 50 percent of online sales are lost because visitors can’t find content
- 23 percent of small business websites are updated less than once a year
Invest in Omnichannel Marketing
Times have changed. Omnichannel marketing is a journey through the buying process that can take place in-store, on the company website, via a mobile app, or on social media using various devices. The outcome should be a consistent experience that reinforces the message you want to deliver to customers.Instead of advertising on separate communication channels with distinctive audiences and voices, omnichannel marketing creates a 1:1 seamless experience across channels.
- Uses the same logos, imagery, voice, and general look and feel in every campaign
- Follows a schedule to engage customers regularly across each channel
- Employs tactics that “move” customers from one channel to another to maintain interest and generate excitement. For example, send out an email that drives traffic to your website.
Even when businesses are successful, there is room for improvement. Understanding that change is inevitable motivates business owners to be open to new ideas that can help them acquire new customers and be more competitive. A marketing plan is a roadmap that can lead a business in the direction of growth and prosperity.