Helping young homeowners become successful DIYers is a worthwhile goal for every independent home improvement store owner. Offering educational classes that show millennials how to complete small projects builds a loyal following of new customers and helps stores sell more products. Giving people the ability to complete simple tasks around the home helps them save money and builds confidence in their ability to tackle more complex projects. Big box retailers like The Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart are connecting current and future homeowners with resources that make home maintenance easier and less stressful.
A survey by The Home Depot in collaboration with Morning Consult indicates that home ownership is highly stressful for young people. Although these consumers are willing to work on tasks around the home, they need to gain the knowledge required to get them done.
- Seventy-four percent think home maintenance projects are stressful
- Sixty-eight percent feel home improvement projects are stressful
“Our research has shown that lack of proper knowledge, tools, and time were the top barriers for millennials navigating home improvement projects, which is especially stressful for a generation of current and soon-to-be first-time homeowners, “said Molly Battin, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at The Home Depot.
Invest in the Future
While 8 in 10 millennials and Gen Z consumers are interested in doing maintenance, repairs, renovations, decorating, and décor, they don’t feel confident they can complete the project. Only a few feel “very confident” (25 percent of millennials and 33 percent of Gen Z). The tasks that made survey respondents most uncomfortable were plumbing, electrical work, roofing/siding, and window/doors. However, many of the tasks young homeowners felt confident about completing were in several categories that independently operated home improvement stores have a breadth of experience and product knowledge.
- Redecorating (86 percent)
- Painting (80 percent)
- Routine yard work (81 percent)
Online DIY information
Unsurprisingly, 90 percent (millennials) to 92 percent (Gen Z) of respondents would find it helpful to access information in one central location. While Home Depot has recently launched “The New Homeowners Hub,” many independent retailers affiliated with Ace Hardware or True Value can connect their customers to similar online resources. These virtual workshops cover topics related to core categories such as paint, lawn & garden, plumbing, electrical, and more. As with most retail-related things, owners must promote their online resources on the store’s website, with in-store signage, and, when possible, in kiosks. Although you might think that most young people would seek advice from their parents, the survey indicates that YouTube videos are this demographic’s primary source of DIY information.
Getting Started with In-store Workshops
It’s great when customers have access to DIY information online that has a direct tie-in to your store’s brand and business. However, conducting in-store workshops that bring customers into the physical store is even better. They can ask questions, work on a small project, and purchase the products they need for home projects. Conducting workshops should be incorporated into the business’s annual plan to align with each quarter’s promotional objectives. Decide on the number and frequency of workshop topics. Staff requirements, goals, and resources are required to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Tap into the Expertise of Other Businesses
Many home improvement stores operate with a small staff, so it may take a lot of work to carve out time on a busy weekend to hold a workshop. Yet, tapping into the expertise of your suppliers, local contractors, and professionals like plumbers, carpenters, electricians, veterinarians, local artisans, and other small businesses in the community can help you provide the knowledge and information customers need with limited impact on the staff. Possible topics include:
- Basic Plumbing
- Introduction to Hand Tools
- Painting 101
- Preparing your yard for Spring/Winter
- Safe Use of Power Tools
- Weatherproofing your Home
The customer journey begins before customers walk into a physical store. However, it’s up to retailers to make the in-store experience enjoyable once they arrive. Conducting workshops and demonstrations that show young people how to save money by completing DIY projects will keep shoppers engaged and provide them with knowledge and information that will help them now and in the future.