COVID-19 has amplified the role of the home as a sanctuary. We are spending exponentially more time at home seeking comfort, security and emotional well-being. It’s likely that these trends will continue, and brands need to be ready to support this shift.
Americans feel a range of emotions from hope to anxiety, and Millennials feel the most anxious, according to the ongoing Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker.
More than eight in ten U.S. respondents in Ipsos Global Essentials tracker agree that things are “out of control.” COVID-19, the economy, and episodes of social unrest largely drive these negative feelings.
As a result, we are remodeling, reorganizing, repurposing and rediscovering our indoor and outdoor spaces as home takes on even bigger meaning.
We expect our homes to provide comfort, security and community, along with supporting our health and well-being. What we observed from pandemic buying behavior is that these desired outcomes can be accomplished via a simple refresh of décor or by planning more substantial home upgrades.
The implications of these shifts in our homes are broad and require retailers to prepare across departments and customer touchpoints:
Project planning: Brands need to be ready to support one or more aspects of space planning, designing, constructing and financing. This includes online support tools, tutorials and educational materials.
Project focus: Shoppers appreciate project inspiration tools, including in-store displays, knowledgeable sales associate consultation, AR/VR visualization tools, Pinterest/Instagram picture boards and shoppable social media platforms.
Customer service: Retailers need to consider their customer-service readiness for in-store, online and BOPIS, including inventory. For example, during the summer 2020 months, the increase in gardening led to seeds being out of stock, and socially distanced outdoor entertaining led to propane tank shortages.
Project hiring: Ipsos research shows that homeowners expect to do the majority of projects themselves, followed by a combination of DIY and contractors. Brands need to consider how they can support both work styles to position themselves to meet consumers where they are in their skill and confidence levels.
With the renewed focus on home and yard, people are looking for ways to maximize the functionality and enjoyment of these spaces. Retailers and brands that create inspirational content, ready-to-assemble kits and project packages increase the likelihood of engaging the home improvement shopper. By making shoppers feel taken care of, hopeful, valued and good about their overall buying experience, they will be more loyal return customers.