After a year like this, what’s in store for retailers in 2021? It’s a question we’re all asking and independent retailers are no exception. Let’s review the facts. Over the past seven months, the home improvement industry has seen unprecedented growth. This stems from consumers investing time and money updating their homes, home improvement retailers (essential businesses) remaining open while much of the world was shut down and retailers quickly shifting operations to meet consumer needs for things like e-commerce and contactless shopping.
While the future isn’t easy to predict, retailers are making decisions now that will impact their operations in 2021. The good news is that because of the positive growth this year, retailers are investing heavily in improving their operations and are sharing their outlook for the coming year.
How has COVID-19 impacted retailers in 2020?
In September, NHPA surveyed independent home improvement retailers representing nearly 600 storefronts. Eighty-seven percent of the retailers surveyed have seen sales growth increases over this time in 2019. Those retailers also reported that sales were not only positive but were up by an average of 24 percent.
In order to achieve this sales growth, many retailers have had to adjust their operations to meet the needs of their customers and communities. Here are a few of those results.
- 71% of retailers started offering curbside pickup.
- 54% of retailers had to place purchase limits on essential items.
- 53% of retailers adjusted store hours.
- 48% of retailers have reported online sales growth.
For more results from this study and a look inside new consumer data, watch a replay of COVID-19: Its Impact on the Home Improvement Industry, a recent webinar with research compiled from NHPA, The Farnsworth Group and the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI).
4 Ways Retailers are Planning for 2021
- Retailers are focusing on upgrades. With extra cash to spend and the ability to take advantage of tax mitigations, retailers are making decisions now on where to make investments in their businesses. This includes investing in new equipment, making structural improvements, dedicating more resources to technology and more. Does your brand offer an opportunity for retailers to improve their operations?
- Retailers are bringing in new products and product lines. Of the retailers who are predicting continued growth in 2021, 56% say they plan to add product lines they feel will drive sales. As you develop messaging to attract new customers, consider some of the benefits to retailers that focus on return on investment (ROI) and financial support like discounts and buybacks.
- Retailers are in discovery mode. While the industry’s distributors have done a fantastic job pivoting to virtual offerings, both attendees and vendors know that it can be challenging to “discover” new items and assortments in a virtual format. Retailers differentiate themselves by their ability to offer new and unique products, and they typically rely in part on live markets and trusted resources like trade media to find them. With no live markets being held in the last seven months, how are you making sure retailers discover what you have to offer?
- Retailers are playing catch-up with tech. While many retailers in the channel have user-friendly websites and mobile ordering options, there are more retailers just starting their journey into online selling. COVID-19 is forcing everyone to provide online or contactless shopping options to stay relevant and retailers are spending big bucks to jumpstart those efforts. Does your company offer digital content to help promote your products online?
Retailers who have had positive growth in 2020 are investing in and improving their businesses through the end of the year and into 2021. While many of us are ready to say, “Happy New Year” and move on, companies could be leaving valuable dollars and impressions on the table. Now is the perfect time to ramp up your brand awareness and connect with independent retailers. Timing, messaging and an integrated media strategy can help you capture sales now and set you up for success in 2021.