“Technology Forcing Change in Home Improvement Retailing” presented by Winston Ledet, of Premium Retail Solutions based in Smyrna, Ga., is a good synopsis of where consumers are in the home improvement technology sphere, which provides strong indicators for where remodelers need to be in order to get noticed.
Data from Premium Retail Solutions Consumer Research shows that 50% of consumers use a retailer’s Website to research home improvement products and projects, 42% use a search engine like Google and 40% look at reviews.
Here’s what this means for remodelers: First, find a way to get on a retailer’s Website. Lowes.com now has an inspiration section on their retail site that has project photos. What is interesting is these photos are powered by Houzz.com, and by putting your photos on Houzz, there is a good chance you are placing your photos in front of 50% of people who are researching projects as noted above.
Next, search engine optimization (SEO) is growing in importance by the minute. However, eventually, being at the top of the Google list will not be enough if you don’t have a Website that offers value to the consumer. According to Ledet, video is viewed about 1,000 times more than text, adding to predictions that Websites will require videos for any chance of visibility in the future.
Finally, your reviews must be monitored closely, and engagement of comments will shape your company’s online presence. The downfall for remodelers is that this takes a lot of time and may, at some point, require a full-time employee to monitor and provide consistency.
Ledet’s data honed in on the connection between social media and home improvement. Thirty-eight percent reported using social media to learn about home improvement, specifically as a tool for inspiration, product reviews and project research. The top social site was Facebook, at 80%, followed by YouTube, 58%. Since both Facebook and YouTube can house videos, this may be another indication of the importance of producing video in the next decade.
Word of mouth through friends and family is still the primary way information is circulated. However, 24% of respondents reported some type of online advocacy after use and purchase, either through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or reviews. On the other hand, when respondents were asked if they had ever posted a review, nearly 60% said no.
The takeaway here is that it would behoove you to encourage your clients to share information about their projects on their social media channels—or providing them tools such as videos or photos that enable them to do so—to extend the word of mouth recommendation to the online world.